Provocative wins G1 Queensland Oaks
Provocative will follow in the footsteps of Ethereal and be aimed at the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups after winning the Group One Queensland Oaks.
Weeks of intrigue and uncertainty ended in triumph for trainer Tony Pike when Provocative won the Group One Queensland Oaks (2400m) at Eagle Farm.
In a desperate bid to gain a start in Saturday's Oaks, where the order of entry is determined by prize money earned, Pike took the unusual step of starting Provocative at Ipswich on May 18.
The filly duly scored impressively but only made the Oaks field as the first emergency, gaining entry into the race when rival runner Beluga Belle was scratched.
"We took an unusual path to get here, but I always knew if she made the field she would give the race a huge shake because she's a natural stayer," Pike said.
"She's always been super talented, but she's just had a few quirks which have cost her at times.
"Today when she was bolting at the 600 metres I was pretty confident she would win."
Saturday's meeting was a crowning achievement for Pike with Provocative giving him the second leg of a Group One double after Sacred Elixir won the JJ Atkins Plate earlier in the day.
"To win two Group Ones in Australia at the same meeting is a super day," Pike said.
"Two years ago we were here and it was a disappointing day for us and again last year was a disaster, but winning these races today makes up for all the previous bad luck."
Pike said Provocative would be spelled and aimed at the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups in the spring.
The filly will be aiming to emulate fellow New Zealander Ethereal, which won the Queensland Oaks in 2001 before capturing the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups double later that year.
Provocative was the 45th individual Group One winner sired by Zabeel, equalling the achievement of his famous father Sir Tristram.
It was the second Group One win in Australia for jockey Leith Innes, who won the 2013 Doomben Cup aboard Beaten Up for Chris Waller.
Innes was confident Provocative would win the Oaks when she was travelling comfortably approaching the home turn.
"She's an out-and-out stayer and travelled up to them so strongly at the 600 metres," Innes said.
"She hit the front a bit soon, but I always knew she would outstay them.
"To win a Group One for Tony is something special because he's my main support base back home in New Zealand."
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