Tony Pike keeps his cool as top filly Provocative waits for Queensland Oaks start

Provocative had a stroll around Eagle Farm on Tuesday. Picture: Annette Dew

STAR filly Ghisoni is out of the Stradbroke but Kiwi trainer Tony Pike says he won’t be dirty if his own equine glamour girl Provocative misses a Queensland Oaks start.

Plenty of long-range Stradbroke punters did their cash when Godolphin revealed Ghisoni would miss the Group 1 sprint and instead run in the Group 2 Dane Ripper Stakes on Saturday week.

Ghisoni was $6 second favourite for the Stradbroke but her primary target is now likely to be the Group 1 Tatts’ Tiara at Eagle Farm, against her own sex, on June 25.

As the Ghisoni bombshell struck, punters were preparing for another possible disappointment with Oaks favourite Provocative still not certain to get a start on Saturday.

Provocative galloped impressively at Eagle Farm on Tuesday morning but still sits one spot outside the 18-horse field, with Pike sweating on a decision from Chris Waller on Mount Omei.

Some of the Oaks starters appear to be just making up the numbers, but Pike insists he has no problem with the prize money conditions which have his filly battling to make the field.

“It would be a very difficult situation for someone to try to select a horse ahead of another horse which has banked more prize money. It is just a shame she missed some of the better races in New Zealand and wasn’t able to collect more prize money before she came over.

“At the moment it appears we are one outside the field, but we will just have to see what happens when the fields come out.’’

If Provocative misses the Oaks, Pike’s reserve plan is to run in Saturday’s Eagle Farm Cup and back up into the Queensland Derby a week later.

With plenty of rain expected in Brisbane on Saturday, Pike thinks Provocative will handle a heavy track but he admits he is a bit in the dark.
Ghisoni, left, won’t run in the Stradbroke Handicap on Saturday week. Picture: Grant Peters

“I really don’t know to be honest but generally Zabeel’s do handle wet ground,’’ Pike said. “A very wet track would make it more testing for the rest of the field and one thing I know for sure is she will stay the 2400m without a problem.’’

With Ghisoni coming out of next week’s Stradbroke, punters are coming for BTC Cup winner Malaguerra ($12 in to $9 with UBET).

“Under The Louvre is also very solid (at $12), while there has been very little interest in Black Heart Bart ($6) since the Stradbroke weights came out,’’ UBET’S Gerard Daffy said.

Elsewhere, Damien Oliver has secured the ride on Stradbroke favourite Azkadellia.

Oliver’s suspension for a failed breath test at the Warrnambool carnival expires this week. He will ride at Sandown rather than Oaks Day but then travel to Brisbane for the Stradbroke next week.

# New Zealand Derby winner Rangipo has been spelled after finishing ninth in the recent Fred Best Classic. Rangipo was set to target the Queensland Guineas but owners have instead decided to spell him before a Melbourne Spring Carnival mission.


Story courtesy Ben Dorries  Brisbane Courier Mail


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