Former champion West Australian jockey William Pike is continuing to make his mark in Sydney with one of the country's leading stables predicting he could be a premiership force next season.
Pike made the move to NSW in February due to the strict vaccination rules in his home state and has made an immediate impact.
He was to the fore at Randwick on Saturday, winning the opening race aboard the Danny Williams-trained Bandi's Boy and claiming an early double on Irish Sequel in the Precise Air Handicap (1800m), relegating premier hoop James Mcdonald into second both times.
Irish Sequel started at $4.20 and ran down his Chris Waller-trained stablemate and McDonald's mount Aleas ($3 fav) to score by a half-neck, giving Pike his first Sydney winner for the champion trainer.
"He has obviously hit his straps now in Sydney," Waller's stable representative Charlie Duckworth said.
"I think James (McDonald) will probably be hurting every time he sees Willie ride a winner as he probably sees him as a live threat for next year.
"It's good to see competitive racing in Sydney, whether it's in your own stable or whether it's in the jockeys' ranks."
McDonald was forced to make his run on Aleas a long way from home and Duckworth felt that made the difference at the finish.
"James' hand was forced early, which was a bit of a shame because I think he would have had a better turn of foot had he been able to wait until the 400 but a good result either way," he said.
Irish Sequel started his career in Ireland and was recommended to the Waller stable by the legendary Dermot K Weld, best known in Australia as the trainer of 1993 Melbourne Cup winner Vintage Crop.