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Tony Pike has had a change of heart with three of the stable's Sydney-based horses and decided to keep them racing

New Zealand trainer Tony Pike has had a change of heart with three of the stable’s Sydney-based horses and decided to keep them racing.

Pike called his two staff members home and sent The Bostonian, Sherwood Forest and Not An Option to a spelling farm believing racing would close down amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The three have now been transferred to other trainers while Australian racing continues under strict biosecurity protocols.

The Bostonian has been in Sydney for some weeks, winning the Group One Canterbury Stakes before running second in Saturday’s George Ryder Stakes won by Dreamforce.

He will race under John O’Shea’s name in the All Aged Stakes on April 18 while NZ Derby winner Sherwood Forest runs in the Australian Derby a week earlier for Bjorn Baker.

Two-year-old Not An Option will run in Pike’s name in Saturday’s Group Three Schweppervescence (1400m) but is being cared for by Richard Freedman.

New Zealand is in lockdown from midnight Wednesday with racing on the backburner for at least a month.

“We sent the horses to a spelling farm while the staff came back home yesterday afternoon,” Pike told NZ Racing Desk.

“After discussions with owners and there is a little bit of confidence that they would continue racing over there, at least in the short term, so we’ve arranged for those horses to go to other trainers for their final races of the carnival.

“Not An Option has gone to Richard Freedman. He was in the barn beside us at Rosehill, so he has taken him over just for the next four days until he runs on Saturday.

“Sherwood Forest has headed to Bjorn Baker’s. I have been in touch with him and he has arrived in good shape from the spelling farm.

“The Bostonian has headed to John O’Shea’s, just to finish his preparation off in the All Aged Stakes.”

The Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman-trained duo of Quick Thinker and The Chosen One have been integrated into the stable of Baker’s son Bjorn.

Quick Thinker has drawn barrier two in Saturday’s Group Two Tulloch Stakes (2000m) and will be ridden by James McDonald, who was impressed by his last-start placing in the Phar Lap Stakes (1500m)

“After his third placing behind those star fillies (Funstar and Probabeel), he looks pretty well placed in a race like that,” McDonald said.

“He wouldn’t be running scared of anything in that field. They’re all very similar sort of horses and they’re all trying to get to a Derby and this is a bit of a back door.

“If rain comes about, it only enhances his chances.”

 
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