Winter Carnival Welcomes Wizard of the West

Published 16 June 2022

Winter Carnival  Welcomes Wizard of the West

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The Rockhampton Jockey Club has announced that champion jockey William Pike will be the guest rider over the two feature days of the Winter Racing Carnival.

Affectionately known as The Wizard of the West before moving from Perth to Sydney earlier this year, Pike, 36 has ridden an astonishing 2931 race winners.

His presence at Callaghan Park racecourse on Latter Kennedy Newmarket Handicap race day on Friday, July 8 and BFB Scaffolding Rocky Cup races on Saturday, July 9 is highly significant.

It comes after the Rockhampton Jockey Club had negotiated for Pike to ride at the last two Winter Racing Carnivals in the city but both invitations were thwarted by Covid.

“William had agreed to come over from the West to ride at last year’s carnival but Covid put a stop to that. My club is really excited to have him making the trip up to ride at our two glamour days in July. His presence will put the icing on the cake. Central Queensland racing followers will have this rare opportunity of seeing one of the world’s best jockeys in action at Callaghan Park”, RJC CEO Ian Mill said,

Pike has been in great touch at the current Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival winning among other races the GR 1 J. J. Atkins on Sheeza Belter at Eagle Farm last Saturday.

Back in 2018/19, Pike set an Australian record riding 234 winners for the season.

He will be available for rides on both feature Rockhampton meetings in July where $789,000 in stakes will be distributed.

William’s riding exploits have taken him overseas to Hong Kong and Singapore where success followed him.

The champion hoop will make his first public appearance in Rockhampton at the Rockhampton Cup TAB Calcutta Luncheon at the Rockhampton Leagues Club on Thursday, July 7.

The Rockhampton Winter Racing Carnival commences this Saturday at Callaghan Park with the staging of the celebration of the 25th Rockhampton Girls Grammar School’s Pink Diamond race day.

In all 61 horses will take to the track in the build-up to the upcoming major meetings.

One of the many highlights on the racing front on Saturday will be the likely clash of impending Winter Carnival stars Absolut Artie, North Afrika, Montenegro Man and old timer Barachiel in the Open (1400m).

Sponsored by Wendy Mulry Travel and The Empire Apartments, the race looks certain to be a battle of tactics.

In form fly-in jockeys Nathan Day, Ryan Wiggins, Justin Stanley, Chris Whiteley, Brad Pengelly, Nathan Thomas and Adam Sewell all have multiple bookings on Saturday.

Th Rocky Winter Carnival gathers momentum next week with the two days of Tattersalls racing highlighted by bonanza TAB days on Friday, June 24 and Sunday, June 26.

Ian Mill commented “these two days boasting the Tatts Sprint and Cup are traditional lead-ups to our Newmarket and Cup”.

By Tony McMahon

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