Pike steers Casino Seventeen to thrilling Perth Cup 2024 win

Casino Seventeen may have been the punters’ pick but it took every ounce of champion jockey William Pike’s skill and determination to land Western Australia’s feature cup.

In customary fashion, Pike pushed the six-year-old to the lead as the field entered the Ascot home straight and looked like the Group 2 Perth Cup (2400m) was in his keeping before a fast finishing Be Optimistic ($8.50), ridden by Clint Johnston-Porter, rattled home to miss by a nose margin in the $1 million event with consistent performer Demolish ($26) in third.

Fresh from suspension, Pike admitted that he was itching to return to the saddle as watching cricket, doing odd jobs around the house, nor playing video games could fill the winning void.

“This was always his target race,” Pike said.

“For a race that looked like it would be smooth and a lot of speed, it was there early but it wasn’t in the middle stages.

“I kept losing my spot and was making excuses up in my mind but in the end, I had a really good run from probably the 700 (metre mark) onwards.

“I pulled the trigger too early though (and) hit the big red panic button. Very lucky.

“I had a good horse and a good set of trainers to back me up.”

While Casino Seventeen ($2.70 betting site favourite) gave Pike a fourth Perth Cup – his first back in 2005 – it was a fifth victory in the race for training partners Grant and Alana Williams.

“He is the GOAT in my eyes,” Grant said of Pike.

Dodging more lucrative races through the preparation has played into the team’s hands and before the handicapper.

“This has been 12 months in the making,” Grant added.

“We were able to get here on the minimum (weight, 53-kilos) and if we didn’t have that we might have got beaten.

“The preparation has gone so well I was waiting for something to go wrong but it hasn’t.”

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