Stryker gelding Rangipo firmed into a $5 favourite for the Group 1 New Zealand Derby after a tenacious victory in the Group 2 Avondale Guineas (2100m) at Ellerslie on Saturday.
He’s the first horse Tony Pike has prepared for prominent owner-breeders John and Margaret Thompson.
Rangipo travelled behind the leaders on the fence and, as he did in winning the G2 Waikato Guineas, fought tooth and nail in the straight under Vinnie Colgan before finishing best in a driving finish.
“He’s an amazing horse as he’s been in work a long time and he just keeps turning up,” Pike said.
“He’s a really honest racehorse and quite a fast one as well!”
The up-and-coming three year-old is by Three Bridges Thoroughbreds’ foundation sire Stryker (Fastnet Rock). His Kiwi bred dam Holloway (Zabeel) won at Te Awamutu and she is a half-sister to Maze (G2 Awapuni Cup), Barlinnie (LR Sunshine Coast Cup) and Penitentiary (LR Geelong Classic).
Stryker had sired a winning double in his home State on Friday with She’ll Strykeya (Werribee) and Labdien (Moonee Valley).
Labdien is trained by Chris Waller for Debbie Kepitis who part-owned and still supports Stryker. The filly had won twice at Warwick Farm before travelling south and she is the second winner for stakes-placed mare Bold Moment (Fasliyev).
The winners kept rolling on Sunday with Welcome Stryker in a Super VOBIS bonus race at Ballarat. Trainer Danny Curran bought him for $10,000 from Moorookyle Park at the 2014 Inglis VOBIS Gold yearling sale.