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Pierata earns favouritism for Magic Millions 3YO Guineas

Les Young | 03.01.2018

A powerful victory in last Saturday’s Vo Rogue Plate (Gr 3, 1350m) made Pierata (Pierro) a well deserved favourite for the $2,000,000 Magic Millions 3YO Guineas (RL, 1400m) at the Gold Coast on Saturday week, 13 January.

Having now won two of the four races in the Queensland Summer Crown Series, Pierata, a close and unlucky second in another of the races, the BRC Gold Edition Plate (Listed, 1200m), will earn for connections a $500,000 bonus if he can take out the Guineas on the Magic Millions raceday.

Trained in Sydney by Greg Hickman, Pierata must have a great chance of winning the bonus as he was most impressive last Saturday, coming from well back in the field to reach the lead about 100 metres from home then drawing away to win by two and a half lengths from Dinnigan (Snitzel) with Goodfella (Snitzel) just a long neck further back in third place. Race time was 1:18.76 with the last 600 metres covered in 35.15.

Hickman selected and purchased Pierata for $160,000 at the 2016 Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale, going there intent on buying a member of his sire’s first crop. Pierata was consigned by Kitchwin Hills on behalf of his breeder, Grahame Mapp’s Hobartville Stud.

The trainer’s judgement proved correct as Pierro (Lonhro) has made a great start with his first two crops which have so far yielded seven stakes winners (including one in South Africa) from his first 81 starters. Four of them are Group winners, and significantly they have shown the versatility to win over distances ranging from 1000 metres to 2500 metres.

The still improving Pierata looks the best of Pierro’s male offspring seen to date but the young sire’s most important winner is the filly Pinot, successful last spring in the VRC Oaks (Gr 1, 2500m). Other highly talented Pierro fillies are Tulip and this season’s ATC Gimcrack Stakes (Listed, 1000m) winner Satin Slipper.

Pierro retired to Coolmore in NSW in 2013 and last season stood at a fee of $49,500. He has rightly been given every opportunity to succeed with big numbers of quality mares visiting him each season, in his first five seasons covering 843 mates, 171 of them in 2017. At the Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling sale this month 17 third crop yearlings by him have been catalogued with good sized drafts also headed to the Inglis Classic Yearling Sale in Sydney in February and to the Inglis Premier Yearling Sale in Melbourne in early March.

Pierata is the sixth foal and fourth winner for his dam November Flight (Flying Spur), winner of seven races, most important of which was the Millie Fox Stakes (Gr 3, 1300m). November Flight’s first foal, Ashokan (More Than Ready), won the Skyline Stakes (Gr 3, 1200m) and was Group One placed but failed to fully live up to his early promise. November Flight was returned to Pierro for her 2017 mating.

The writer bought as a yearling Pierata’s second dam November Song (Zabeel), a metropolitan winner, for long-time client Grahame Mapp who is now breeding from several of her daughters, her dam being by the influential speed sire Kaoru Star (Star Kingdom) and her second dam Century Miss (Century) remembered for her dramatic, last stride win in the 1979 Golden Slipper Stakes (Gr 1, 1200m). November Song produced five winners from five foals to race, another being stakes placed Villa Splendido (Holy Roman Emperor).

Pierro’s VRC Oaks (Gr 1, 2500m) winner Pinot is out of a top daughter of Zabeel (Sir Tristram) while Pierata has Zabeel as the sire of his second dam. As Pierro descends from Zabeel’s male line it means that two of his best winners to date are linebred to Zabeel, something for breeders to think about for the future.

Mapp’s planned mating which resulted in Pierata is worthy of study as it also features three crosses of Mr. Prospector (Raise A Native) and four lines of Northern Dancer (Nearctic) but none closer than in the fifth generation. Famous mares Natalma (Native Dancer) and Special (Forli) also feature in Pierata’s pedigree background.

Before closing, tribute should be paid to the exceptional racing achievements of Pierro.

An almost flawless individual, Pierro virtually defied his stout female pedigree by becoming the unbeaten champion Australian two-year-old of the 2011/12 season, taking the ATC Breeders’ Plate (Listed, 1000m) at his first start then going through to capture the autumn Triple Crown of the Golden Slipper Stakes, ATC Sires’ Produce Stakes (Gr 1, 1400m) and Champagne Stakes (Gr 1, 1600m).

He trained on at three years to defeat older horses at weight-for-age and was, quite simply, one of the best racehorses seen in Australia in the past two decades. With his priceless blend of speed and stamina Pierro may also prove to be one of the best sires in Australia over the next decade.

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