Pike duo chasing Matamata black-type success

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Two younger members of Tony Pike's team will spearhead the stable's representation at Matamata with higher honours beckoning the duo if they race up to expectations.

The Cambridge trainer will a two-year-old feature double on Saturday with Archaic Smile in the Group 2 Matamata Breeders' Stakes (1200m) and Poetic Champion in the Group 2 (1200m).

Archaic Smile was a debut fifth at before she trekked south to win at in November and returned to the Central Districts in January to add the Listed (1100m) at Trentham to her record.

“She is a very progressive filly and has obviously been impressive in her last two runs,” Pike said.

“She's always showed ability and drew a wide gate in her first start and got a bit lost and was green, so it was a pretty good run in what has turned out to be a good form race.”

The Listed Challenge Stakes (1100m) was won by subsequent 2YO (1200m) winner Velocious while third placegetter has since won the Group 2 Eclipse Stakes (1200m) and run fourth in the Millions.

“Archaic Smile took good improvement from Te Rapa and she has been dominant in her last two,” Pike said.

“If she wins at the weekend or runs extremely well, then she would probably press on to the Sistema (Group 1, 1200m), that's the logical option.”

That thinking also applies to Poetic Champion, who romped home on debut at and placed in the Challenge Stakes and the Group 2 Wakefield Challenge Stakes (1100m) before he was a gallant sixth from the outside gate in the Millions at .

“The barrier draw (14) was a bit of a nightmare and we decided to go back, but he still couldn't get in and sat four wide for the trip,” Pike said.

“Considering the way the track was playing that night and the run he had, you couldn't have asked for anymore. It was a very genuine effort.

“He had a week in the paddock after that and has come back in really good order and worked well on morning.”

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