Neurological rockets home to land biggest win

Cameron NewboldAlbany Advertiser
Neurological sprints home strongly for jockey William Pike to win the 2019 TabTouch Fitzpatrick Plate (1230m) in Albany on Sunday.
Camera IconNeurological sprints home strongly for jockey William Pike to win the 2019 TabTouch Fitzpatrick Plate (1230m) in Albany on Sunday. Credit: Laurie Benson

A touch of genius from champion jockey William Pike aboard one of the most progressive horses in the State has led to a frenetic finish to the 2019 TabTouch Fitzpatrick Plate (1230m) in Albany on Sunday, as race favourite Neurological prevailed.

Pike made a rare trip to Albany to especially ride the Martin Allan-trained Neurological in the $100,000 feature race at Percy Spencer Racecourse and he produced a superb effort to guide the talented sprinter to victory.

Jumping a well-supported $2.70 favourite Pike had the four-year-old settled in the back half of the field as a red-hot pace was set up front by outsider Abu Dhabi ($55 chance).

As the field swept for home Pike switched back to the inside and got away from heels of the fading Father Knick before unleashing a brilliant turn of foot to gobble up Abu Dhabi and Arrum Boy and pinch a memorable win.

Neurological sprouted wings in the run home, clocked a final 600m sectional of 34.43 seconds to win by 1¼ lengths over Arrum Boy while Abu Dhabi finished a brave third.

The victory was Pike’s second in the feature race, having guided Shawaim to success in 2013, but for Allan it was clearly his biggest win as a trainer.

Post-race Pike revealed that he had questioned if Neurological was capable of progressing to win a race of this kind.

“I won a couple on him at Northam and I was unsure if he could win another race,” Pike said.

“But I am happily proven wrong.

“I didn’t have a very high opinion of him if I’m honest but he’s improving and Martin has done a wonderful job with him.

Part-owner of the 2019 Fitzpatrick Plate winner Paul Officer, jockey William Pike, trainer Martin Allan and strapper Jo Vaatainen after the victory of Neurological.
Camera IconPart-owner of the 2019 Fitzpatrick Plate winner Paul Officer, jockey William Pike, trainer Martin Allan and strapper Jo Vaatainen after the victory of Neurological. Credit: Albany Advertiser

“He’s got a real turn of foot and in running I thought I’d left my run too late.

“We were only just winding up and he ran through the line so he’ll be hard to beat in whatever he progresses on to.”

The win continues Neurological’s red-hot form, having won five of his past six starts after starting this preparation with a class three win in Northam back in September last year, while Pike is unbeaten in four starts on the horse.

Allan, who has been training just over three years, was thrilled to land feature race success with the son of Gingerbread Man.

“We did step him up for the York Cup but with more speed on we worked out he’s much better as a chaser,” Allan said.

“In these kind of races he gets in well at the weights and he’ll go to the Batavia Sprint now.

“We knew there would be a lot of speed on but once he saw daylight he hit top gear.”

Winning connections Neurological after their win in the 2019 TabTouch Fitzpatrick Plate on Sunday.
Camera IconWinning connections Neurological after their win in the 2019 TabTouch Fitzpatrick Plate on Sunday. Credit: Albany Advertiser

The 32-year-old trainer said the $20,000 purchase was named after his father, who passed away through motor neuron disease.

Neurological will now contest the $100,000 Batavia Sprint (1300m) in Geraldton on January 27.

Pike finished with a winning treble in his anticipated return to the region after also guiding Friarandice to victory in the other feature, the Golden Bracelet, along with You Am I earlier in the day.

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