Group One racing awaits quality galloper Allez Eagle after he
won a thrilling three-horse battle down the Hastings straight in today’s Gr. 3
Linwood Park Stud Spring Sprint.
The Guillotine gelding was a brave fourth in unsuitable track
conditions in the Gr. 1 Easter Handicap at Ellerslie in April, and today’s
tremendous fresh-up performance suggested that he is likely to give an even
better account of himself at the elite level this season.
“For him to do that today is a huge training feat by Tony Pike
and his team,” Danielle Johnson said after unsaddling her third winner on the
Hastings card. She had earlier won the Gr. 3 Gold Trail Stakes on Serious
Satire and the Rating 65 sprint on All Torn Up.
“He’s a good horse, and if today’s performance is anything to go
by I think he’ll be up to winning a Group One this season,” she added.
Johnson played her part beautifully in today’s $70,000 event,
placing Allez Eagle just behind the leading group as hot favourite Ryan Mark
was taken on in front by longshot Salamanca.
Allez Eagle pounced at the top of the straight in what looked
like a winning move, but Ryan Mark bravely lifted to his inside and the two
went to war. High-class local mare Recite joined the fray halfway down the
straight and the trio were neck and neck in a superb battle.
There would be no denying Allez Eagle, who lunged for the line
and prevailed in a great finish. He beat Recite by a nose, with Ryan Mark a
long neck away in third.
“That was a great race, those were three very good horses
fighting out the finish,” winning trainer Tony Pike said.
“Ryan Mark got softened up a bit in front, which was a bit
unfortunate for him and he's done well to keep going, but it worked out well
for Allez Eagle. He got a lovely trip and was very good down the straight.
“It’s great to get the win, and it’s just really good to see him
back to his best. Onwards and upwards from here, hopefully. I think 1400 metres
to a mile is his best trip now, and he’ll improve for the run. He’ll probably
go to Trentham for the Windsor Park Plate next.”
Allez Eagle has now had 16 starts for eight wins and one placing,
earning more than $150,000 in prize-money.
Hastings trainer John Bary was delighted with the runner-up
finish by Recite, her first start since scoring a brilliant win at Matamata
back in February.
“I’m just stoked to have her back and performing at the level I
know she can,” he said. “Good horses like this make it easier to get out of bed
in the morning. She’ll probably go to Trentham next.”
Ryan Mark kept fighting all the way to the finish to run a
courageous third, with Mighty Solomon catching the eye with a big late run into