William is another Warne

WA’s leading jockey has amazing stats 2 October 2017

The name Pike has often been at the forefront of Australian racing.

Jim Pike won his first race in 1906 and is forever associated with our racing’s greatest name: Phar Lap. 

Pike and Phar Lap combined 30 times for 27 wins, including the 1930 Melbourne Cup.

CHAMPION HORSE/CHAMPION JOCKEY: PHAR LAP AND JIM PIKE

When we think of Winx and her amazing achievements, it is sobering to think of a horse that was virtually unbeatable during a time most of us could never even imagine, the Great Depression. 

Phar Lap and Pike gave the Australian people something to be glad about when unemployment was the scourge of the nation and the world. There was no dole then.

In Western Australia, Len Pike dominated the trainers’ ranks during the 1970s, becoming leading trainer in 1973-74, the first of six titles for the decade.

Pike made his name landing huge betting plunges before becoming a professional horse trainer who always seemed to have a top-line galloper in his stables.

He consistently bought horses with moderate Victorian form and turned them into superstars of WA racing. The most notable was Detonator who won the Railway Stakes. However, it was Detonator’s Bunbury Stakes win in 1976 that is most often remembered.

Having won the 1975 Railway with 51.5kg in December the galloper was given 67.0kg in the Bunbury Stakes, run in March. He not only won but came from well back and finished down the outside running rail to win as he pleased.

So to our current Pike – William.

DOUBLE WITH A TWIST: WILLIAM PIKE

This bloke has dominated WA riding ranks for years but in the past fortnight he has been in even better form than usual.

Since September 16, Pike has had 54 rides.  

He has won on 24 of them. That’s 44.4 per cent winners to rides!

Prices of the winners have ranged from Mikimoto at $1.40 last Wednesday at Belmont Park to $8.50 for Young Gina at the same track on 16 September.

The average price of the 24 winners has been $3.71 so it’s not as if all the rides are long odds on?

Sometimes the memory can play tricks on you but I recall a newspaper article from very early in William Pike’s career where former bookmaker Eric Wilson declared the then-rising star the best jockey he had seen in WA. At the time, I took pause thinking Eric had gone out on a limb.

Here was a jockey with a bit of form behind him and a long way to go in his career and Eric was putting him ahead of Eric Treffone, Frank Treen, Tiger Moore, Rod Kemp, Mark Sestich and Paul Harvey.

(I won’t even mention Johnny Miller in this as I associate him with Galilee and Farmer’s Daughter and winning a Doncaster on Tobin Bronze so to me he’s in another orbit altogether; or Damien Oliver, who left WA as a talented apprentice and became a champion). 

It was a big call from the Big E and one that’s been justified over time.

BIG CALL: HOGG PREDICTED 500

It recalls the time former Australian fast bowler Rodney Hogg was covering Victorian district grade cricket for the Truth newspaper. 

Hogg wrote that he had seen a spinner that day who would take (I think it was) 500 test wickets. The spinner of whom Hogg wrote hadn’t even played for Victoria in the Sheffield Shield.

As the record for test wickets taken had for years been held by Lance Gibbs (309) and, at the time of Hogg’s writing was probably held by Dennis Lillee (on his way to 355), the editor bawled Hogg out and sacked him.

Hogg had written about Shane Warne, who eventually played Sheffield Shield and tests for Australia.

Warne took 708 test wickets.

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