Blue Striker Taking Giant Strides
PETER Akathiotis is remaining upbeat about Blue Striker’s prospects in Saturday night’s Golden Easter Egg, despite drawing unfavourably in box seven for the $250,000 to-the-winner showpiece.
16 April 2019
VICTORIAN trainer Peter Akathiotis is remaining upbeat about Blue Striker’s prospects in Saturday night’s Group 1 Ladbrokes Golden Easter Egg Final (520m) at Wentworth Park, despite drawing unfavourably in box seven for the $250,000 to-the-winner showpiece.
“I was hoping he’d draw closer to the fence but I don’t think box seven is the end of the world either, he holds a straight line early so the main thing is he comes out cleanly and gets himself into the race,” said Akathiotis in the lead up to Saturday night’s Group 1 blockbuster.
Setting the pace for Saturday night’s Golden Easter Egg with a dazzling 29.58 semi-final victory, defeating Miss Splendamiro right on the line by a length, Akathiotis says his home-bred galloper couldn’t be better heading into this weekend’s rich finale.
“If anything, in the last few weeks he’s done a bit too well so I’ve had to keep a close eye on his weight – I’ve got him right where I want him now but he had got away from me a bit – he travels unbelievably well,” added Akathiotis.
“I earmarked the Easter Egg for him a while back and I’ve really liked how well he’s taken to Wentworth Park – the first week I brought him up was his first look at the track and he just got lost finishing second. He was unlucky I thought in his heat but on Saturday night he learnt from that and did everything right – he’s beginning well from the boxes, and he’ll need to on Saturday.”
Capable of running exceptional times and armed with a powerhouse finish, Blue Striker put the writing on the wall for a trip to Sydney back on March 21, running down Poke The Bear at Sandown over the 595 metres.
“I think because he’s so strong people tend to think he’s a slow beginner but he’s run some very quick first splits at Sandown, The Meadows and now at Wentworth Park as well – when he begins he can really get moving but there’s 36 kilos of him so he does take a few strides.”
Winner at 13 of his 39 starts, Blue Striker is a son of Akathiotis’s former top chasers Blue Giant and Blue Lavros, the line tracing back to his 1992 Melbourne Cup winner Master Giant.
“We got some sad news the past few days that Blue Giant isn’t well, he’s got a tumor on his leg which doesn’t look great,” said Akathiotis, choking back a tear or two.
“At the moment it’s manageable but in the next month or two we’ll probably need to make a decision depending how it progresses – it’s sad but these things happen in life.
“I’ll spend this week looking at the positives and hopefully on Sunday morning he’s (Blue Giant) a group 1 winning sire. That’d be nice, I couldn’t think of anything better.”
Favourite for Saturday night’s Golden Easter Egg Final is the Seona Thompson-trained Black Opium at $3.00 from box one, just ahead of NSW star Federal Lilly for Peter Lagogiane at $3.20, drawn box five.
On the third line of betting is Miss Splendamiro for Dave Geall at $4.20, while Blue Striker is quoted a $5.50 chance.
“Blue Striker’s semi-final win on Saturday was my first at Wentworth Park,” added Akathiotis.
“I’ve been up a few times over the years, starting with Master Giant back in the early 90s. Hala Belle finished midfield to Sweet It Is in the 2014 Association Cup Final, I’d run a few seconds but Saturday was my first winner there.
“Hopefully it’s my second this Saturday night.”