By Ray Hickson
It’s all systems go towards the Concorde Stakes for Pierata after Greg Hickman’s stable star strode away with the second trial of his Everest preparation on Friday.
If the Warwick Farm trainer could be a bit picky about the 1000m trial on his home track he says he’d have preferred the five-year-old to have found some cover.
Tommy Berry settled Pierata, wearing blinkers in this trial, behind the speed set by Golden Eagle bound Fasika before punching through on the fence and cruising clear to win by 1-3/4 lengths.
“It would have been nice if there was a bit more pace on but he just jumped and travelled and worked to the line,’’ Hickman said.
“Tommy said he would have liked Brenton (Avdulla on Fasika) to come across but that didn’t happen but he was happy with how he jumped, sat and worked home.’’
Pierata, who runs in the Aquis Farm slot in the $14m TAB Everest (1200m) on October 19, will now take his place in the Group 3 Concorde Stakes (1000m) at Randwick on September 7.
Pierata wins his trial at Warwick Farm on August 23
That race is likely to be billed as a mini-Everest with Redzel, not only chasing a threepeat in Australia’s richest race but also in the Concorde, Sunlight, Osborne Bulls, Nature Strip, Graff and Zoustyle all heading in that direction first-up.
“He had a bit of a blow but he’s in good order and I’m very happy with him,’’ Hickman said.
“Everybody’s heading the same way, it’ll be a great race, and whatever we win along the way will be a bonus.’’
Pierata is an $8 chance in TAB’s Everest market with Santa Ana Lane at $5 following the TJ Smith winner’s quiet trial at Cranbourne earlier in the week.
Hickman said he’s been keeping an eye on the trials of the Everest contenders, and those hoping to secure a slot, and believes we’re in for a huge build up over the next eight weeks.
The only horse holding an Everest slot to not trial as yet is the promising Classique Legend but we’ll have our first look at him at Tuesday’s Randwick session.
“They’re all on the mark, aren’t they,’’ Hickman said.
“They’re all trialling very well, it’s going to be an exciting sort of a race.’’
So what does the next two weeks hold for Pierata?
He’ll have his work stepped up a notch but Hickman said he’ll be far from screwed right down for the Concorde.
“We’ll keep ticking him over in the next two weeks, step his work up a little bit more through the week of his first-up run,’’ he said.
“You want them fit enough so they come through the race well and pull up happy.’’