William Pike to leave WA for NSW

With vaccination set to become mandatory for jockeys in Western Australia, champion hoop William Pike is set to move to the eastern states to continue his career.

To be eligible to ride in WA, jockeys must be double-dosed vaccinated from February 5, a stand Pike is against.

Already this year, Pike was stood down from riding at the Perth Cup meeting on New Year’s Day after the WA Government made the announcement that to attend that meeting everyone was required to be vaccinated.

Pike’s racing manager Dale Verhagen said the jockey had decided to try his luck in NSW where it is not mandated that riders must be vaccinated.

“It hasn’t been officially ticked off yet, but he will apply for a licence and hopefully seek some opportunities there,” Verhagen told SENTrack.

“William’s current status is that he is unvaccinated.

“That may or may not change in the future, but it precludes him from riding in WA as from February 5.

“An opportunity has arisen in NSW because those mandates aren’t currently enforced.”

Verhagen said he had had some conversations with Racing NSW Chief Steward Mark Van Gestel regarding Pike’s unvaccinated status and under the current rules he is permitted to ride in NSW.

He said Pike, a 12-time premiership winner, was trying to turn a negative into a positive.

Leading NSW jockey Tommy Berry said he was happy to have Pike join the Sydney ranks, regarded as possibly the toughest in Australia.

“At the end of the day he’s not breaking any rules by coming here and all he wants to do is ride, Berry told RSN.

“Unfortunately, when the rules were different, we did have a few jockeys stood down for a few weeks because they weren’t vaccinated.”

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