William Reid Stakes: Masked Crusader storms home to win Group 1 sprint

William Pike only needed one ride at The Valley on Friday night to have an impact and what a way to do it, guiding Masked Crusader through a needle-eye gap to win the Group 1 William Reid Stakes.

The brilliant triumph, a combination of Pike’s masterful race sense and Masked Crusader’s explosive turn of foot, saw the ‘Wizard of the West’ equal Luke Currie with four Victorian Group 1s this season.

Masked Crusader was slow out of the machine but gathered momentum quickly to settle three back the paint in a stalking position.

William Pike you star. ⭐️

Masked Crusader sprouted wings to win the final Victorian Group 1 of the season, the William Reid Stakes. 🧙‍♂️ @[email protected]/MybHDqZON9

“I suppose at that stage I’d given up on pushing out and making a real clever move,” Pike said. “I missed the boat … so had to sit there, hope, pray and wait.

“I got plenty of luck on the night but I suppose it was the only way we could win.”

As the field fanned around the bend, Pike marked time on the rail and sliced between Pippie and eventual runner-up Portland Sky to claim his second Group 1 of the Melbourne autumn.

“I definitely didn’t expect that brilliant turn of foot,” Pike said.

Masked Crusader surged home to win the William Reid Stakes at The Valley. Picture: Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

“It’s really what won us the race, when I said go, he went, didn’t care about taking a tight run, he said bring it on, he let down that fast I was in and out before they knew I was there.”

Trainer Wayne Hawkes was chuffed with the result.

“Three back the fence and they were running hard, it was just perfect,” Hawkes said.

“I still can’t believe he got that needle-eye gap … the last 100m was a bit of a blur.

“It was a great move to bring him down from Sydney and get the Group 1.

“It’s a great thing for Toronado, he’s a Victorian stallion, I’m a proud Victorian, it was good for a Victorian horse bought out of William Inglis to get the job done.”

Originally published asMasked Crusader continues Wizard’s magic run

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