Willie Pike winning aboard Written Beauty at Flemington (Image: Racing Photos)
Willie Pike finished off his extended stay in Victoria with a most popular win when he guided home the hot odds-on favourite Written Beauty in the final race on Kennedy Oaks Day on Thursday.
Pike has been stationed in Victoria since mid-August primarily to ride the six visiting horses owned by prominent Western Australian owner Bob Peters but ended up winning a number of big races for other stables, including the Caulfield Guineas on Ole Kirk for the Hawkes stable.
Pike has to return to Perth by this weekend so as to spend 14 days in quarantine and still be out in time to ride in the November 21 $1 million Group 1 Railway Stakes.
His decision to fly home means he is unable to partner elite mare Arcadia Queen in Saturday's $2m Mackinnon Stakes, when she will be ridden by Luke Currie. Pike won the G1 Caulfield Stakes on the mare last month.
Many punters had depended on Pike winning the last race, as he so often does in Perth, as Written Beauty was sent out a $1.80 favourite on the back of two outstanding wins to begin the campaign.
Runner-up Marboosha ($19) was being hailed the winner inside the final 100 metres but Pike lifted Written Beauty to score narrowly, with Celestine ($19) close up in third place.
Winning trainer Wayne Hawkes said: "'He's been a great asset to us this spring. We knew we were coming in with some very good horses and when Dwayne Dunn was injured in the barriers, it was like losing your centre half-forward but Willie happened to be Johnny on the spot and thanks so much to Willie for his efforts."