Willie Pike has sent his Cox Plate rivals an ominous warning as he declared Arcadia Queen was getting back to her “confident and untouchable” three-year-old days.
The Bob Peters-owned five-year-old mare goes into the Cox Plate after having a form rejuvenation this spring, capped by toppling Russian Camelot in the Group 1 Caulfield Stakes last start.
She is reclaiming her throne after being waylaid by a series of feet problems which saw her off the scene for an extended period following last year’s Golden Eagle when she finished fifth behind Kolding.
Pike, her regular partner, says she is back to her brilliant and confident best and it’s reminiscent of when she took all before her as a three-year-old including winning the 2018 Group I Kingston Town Stakes in Perth.
“She is getting back to those confident, untouchable three year old days where she was all but unbeaten,” Pike said.
“I am not going to say she has got lengths and lengths of improvement up her sleeve but I think confidence wise she is getting much better.
“I think the main issue holding her back was her feet and they seem to be getting and better.”
Arcadia Queen ridden by Willie Pike wins the Caulfield Stakes. Pic: Racing Photos via Getty Images.Source:Getty Images
There were plenty who doubted whether Arcadia Queen could ever recapture her devastating best form as she spent a while in the racing wilderness while other big names were strutting their stuff.
Pike says he never once doubted her ability.
But he has revealed there were plenty of doubts over what was her pet distance and the best way to get the best out of the daughter of Pierro.
“I never really second guessed her ability at the level but what I was second guessing was what distance was the right distance for her and what was the right approach for her,” Pike said.
“Ability wise when she gallops she is always the best worker out of the lot.
“She is bigger, stronger and better than the others and you can just tell that by riding her.
“But what sort of racehorse was she? That was the issue.
“She has almost got a sprinter’s attitude but her record suggests she is better at 2000m.”
Arcadia Queen during Breakfast With The Best trackwork at Moonee Valley. Pic: Racing Photos via Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images
The obvious query going into the Cox Plate is the prospect of a wet track.
In her 13 career starts, the daughter of Pierro has never raced on anything worse than a soft track.
She has twice raced on soft tracks in Melbourne this campaign, producing a fifth when first-up in the Group 2 PB Lawrence Stakes and then two starts ago she ran third behind Russian Camelot in the Group 1 Underwood Stakes over 1800m.
She turned the tables on Russian Camelot on a good track over 2000m in her most recent outing, in the Group 1 Caulfield Stakes.
On Friday morning, TAB had Arcadia Queen as a $5.50 chance to surge to Cox Plate glory on Saturday.
Originally published asCox Plate: Queen back to her ‘untouchable’ younger days
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