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Pike to unleash emerging star at Ellerslie

Khufu parading as a yearling. - Photo: Trish Dunell
Khufu parading as a yearling.

Photo: Trish Dunell

The Tony Pike-trained Khufu will make his debut in Friday's Gr.2 Barneswood Farm Eclipse Stakes (1200m).

TAB bookmakers have hype-horse Khufu as a $2.60 second favourite for the two-year-old feature behind impressive Te Rapa debut winner Sword Of State at $2.10 despite it being his first start in a field chock-full of race winners.

Among his rivals is $7 third favourite and stablemate Stormy, who is unbeaten in two starts, the most recent an all-the way win in the Gr.2 Wakefield Challenge Stakes (1100m) at Trentham.

"Khufu is going into this race with a reputation that win, lose or draw, he's not going to enhance, no matter how he runs," Pike said.

"He's at $2.60 having his first race in a field with some pretty smart ones in there. Don't get me wrong, he's very talented and we all know that from seeing his trackwork and trials, but you have to take that first-up to Ellerslie, which we know isn't an easy task.

"No doubt he's got the ability to come out and win it but it's never easy to win first time around Ellerslie as we all know."

American Pharoah colt Khufu has had three trials for two wins, most recently winning an 800m two-year-old heat on the Cambridge all-weather track by 8-3/4 lengths in a time more than a second faster than the next quickest juvenile heat on the day. 

A hamstring injury has prevented Khufu from making his debut before now and that has put pressure on him to finish in the placings to give him his best chance of qualifying for next month's $1M Doubletree By Hilton Karaka Million 2YO (1200m) at Ellerslie.

Bred by Nearco Stud, Khufu was purchased by Pike out of Curraghmore's 2020 New Zealand Bloodstock draft for $150,000. -NZ Racing Desk


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