Pierro out to beat history
TRIPLE Crown winner Pierro will start his journey to the Cox Plate in Saturday’s Run To The Rose at Rosehill, kicking off a campaign in which he will try to defy history.
The battle against precedents will be the story of Pierro’s spring as he heads towards Moonee Valley in October via the Caulfield Guineas.
No Golden Slipper winner has won a Cox Plate and only four have won the Caulfield Guineas, but more immediately for Pierro, the record of triple crown winners first-up as three-year-olds is littered with defeats.
Only Tierce and Baguette, who is the only other two-year-old to complete an unbeaten season including the Golden Slipper, Sires’ Produce and Champagne Stakes, have won their return races as three-year-olds from six horses to dominate Sydney’s autumn juvenile features.
On Saturday, Pierro will be up against Black Caviar’s half-brother All Too Hard, who has had the benefit of a run in the San Domenico Stakes, finishing third to Slipper runner-up Snitzerland.
”We can’t be afraid of any horse with him,” co-trainer Michael Hawkes said of All Too Hard. ”He has trained on really well from that first run and will be better again on the weekend.”
The multimillion-dollar colts have already met once – All Too Hard started an odds-on favourite but Pierro took bragging rights, beating him easily in his record-breaking success in the Sires’ Produce Stakes at Randwick.
Pierro’s trainer Gai Waterhouse will remember that her only other triple crown winner, Dance Hero, found the task of beating the runners-up from the Golden Slipper and Sires’ Produce beyond him in 2004.
Dance Hero returned in the San Domenico, and Charge Forward and Fastnet Rock, who have gone on to forge successful careers in the breeding barn, were too good.
However, she is as confident as ever with Pierro.
”He will run in the Run To The Rose, it’s an ideal race for him,” Waterhouse said after the colt galloped between races at Warwick Farm on Saturday.
”He is ready and it fits in well with his program.”
Waterhouse has outlined a plan to try to win the Caulfield Guineas and the Cox Plate with Pierro, two races she has yet to add to her impressive resume.
The son of Lonhro could yet start in the Golden Rose but Waterhouse has only confirmed a run in the Stutt Stakes at Moonee Valley on September 28.
It has been the main lead-up race for three-year-olds going towards the Cox Plate.
Six have completed the double, including Red Anchor, trained by Waterhouse’s father Tommy Smith.
”I would like him to run at Moonee Valley before the Cox Plate,” she said. ”He could have another run before in Melbourne or the Golden Rose.”
The best a Golden Slipper winner has done in the Cox Plate is third – Canny Lad in 1990 and Sky High in 1961 – while Slipper runners-up Octagonal (1995) and Star Affair (1965) won the Cox Plate as three-year-olds.
■ Lines, who was third in the Sires’ Produce Stakes, returned a winner in a maiden at Gosford yesterday.