‘It’s funny how things work out’: Pike’s Sydney switch paying dividends

“He’s a bold, strong-going horse, and once I jumped so well, I was going at a gear too high. Coming back in distance won’t be a problem I have to worry about. He’s rock-hard fit, in a good stable and in good form, so there are no real knocks on him.”

Quality Time won three on the trot before his last outing, including the Port Macquarie Cup.

Willie Pike will team up with Team Waller with Quality Time and Solar Apex in the Big Dance and Little DanceCredit:Wolter Peeters/SMH

Pike rode three winners on Sunday at Goulburn, including the Cup winner for Waller on Oscar Zulu, a victory which qualifies the five-year-old gelding for next year’s Big Dance.

Solar Apex has been set for the Little Dance, and Pike knows Waller rarely misses when setting a horse for a specific race.

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As for his overall form through the Sydney spring, Pike said: “I’ve had some fantastic opportunities, including rides in The Everest and Golden Eagle – to be trusted with rides in those races with serious prizemoney is really good.

“There is so much money here, it means the jockeys are never comfortable and always having to fight for their spot and be on their A-game. That’s not just in the city, but also your provincial and country tracks as well. Everyone rides like it’s their last ride.

“As far as the sport goes, that’s fantastic. I don’t know if the competition has made me a better rider, but it has definitely made me a more rounded rider.

“It would be nice to get a big-race win under my belt in the coming weeks. The carnival is fast closing, so I’ve still got a few chances.”

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