Tony Pike went to Karaka in January in search of his next potential star and he may just have found him.
Promising juvenile Not An Option is part of a colts syndicate Pike formed prior to the sale and the son of Not A Single doubt has quickly repaid his trainer’s faith, winning on debut at Counties on Sunday.
“It was a good performance,” Pike said. “We really wanted to barrier trial him again but with Avondale being an extremely heavy track and obviously the long trek up to Ruakaka wasn’t ideal.
“We targeted this race a few weeks ago and just wanted to roll the dice and try and get some prizemoney in the bin which qualifies him for the Karaka Million.”
While pleased with the win, Pike said the colt still has a bit to learn.
“He did a lot wrong but he’ll improve from that,” he said. “Leith’s (Innes, jockey) got a pretty high opinion of the horse, he’s a nice actioned horse. He’s got a bit of class and natural ability got him through on Sunday.
“The early ability he’s shown and just the type he is, he’s not a small horse by any means for a two-year-old, he’s a lovely big scopey horse with plenty of strength. I think he’s only going to get better from here so I’d be surprised if he’s not one of our better two-year-olds.”
A $240,000 purchase out of Curraghmore’s draft, Not An Option will now head for a brief break before being prepared for the rich Karaka Million 2YO (1200m) in January.
“It’s great to have won on Saturday,” Pike said. “Now we’re not chasing our tail trying to get some money in the bank.
“He’ll head out for three weeks in the paddock and then we’ll map out a program heading forward to the Karaka Million and probably target the Eclipse Stakes (G.2, 1200m) on the way through.”
Pike came up with the colts syndicate initiative prior to New Zealand Bloodstock’s yearling sales in January and he is pleased with what his six purchases are showing to date.
“It’s something I came up with going into last year’s Karaka Sales,” Pike said. “It’s a lot easier going there with some money behind you to buy the horses that you want.
“Guy Mulcaster and Bruce Sherwin helped me with the selection of the colts and we were pretty lucky to get the six that we did.
“We have a great bunch of owners behind us and hopefully this can be a successful syndicate and roll on each year from here on in.
“I’m really happy with what we’ve got so far. It’s great to get a winner on the board so early for the syndicate and there’s plenty of horses in behind that are looking pretty promising as well.” -NZ Racing Desk