The 2012 Golden Slipper winner Pierro overcame a strong challenge from Rebel Dane to win the $200,000, Group 2 Hobartville Stakes (1400m) at Rosehill on Saturday in his first race of the 2013 autumn, but it took a titanic effort from the Gai Waterhouse trained colt to do so.
Pierro wins the fierce duel with Rebel Dane, picture sportpix.com.au
Mulaazem and Josh Parr took the lead from the barriers and immediately opened up a big margin on the rest of the field. Pierro and Nash Rawiller were also out well from barrier nine and into stride with Rawiller restraining his colt as stablemate Proisir and Hugh Bowman came across from barrier 11 to take up second running.
Rawiller was then content to run in fourth tracking Proisir with Ashokan and Peter Robl third on the rails. Rebel Dane and Jason Collett followed Pierro in fifth.
Passing the 700m Mulaazem was 4L out in front, but the field was closing. At the top of the straight Mulaazem’s lead had gone and the field fanned on the heavy track searching for the best run home.
Pierro was taken wide to the middle by Rawiller with Proisir and Bowman inside, while Collett had taken a closer run inside again.
Eventually Pierro reached the lead with 225m to run, but in a pincer movement across the other fading runners Rebel Dane came from the inside up past Proisir and then across to be closer to Pierro.
What had looked like an easier passage to the line for Pierro took on a very different complexion with Rebel Dane making a determined challenge and not stopping. With 75m to run Rebel Dame changed legs, but then came again at the colt on his outside.
Pierro was out on his feet and Rawiller was working hard to maintain their momentum and still Rebel Dane challenged. The post arrived just in time for Pierro for a narrow short head win over his worthy opponent.
Rebel Dane (Dane Shadow) was 2 3/4L clear of Proisir (Choisir) with It’s A Dundeel fourth and Proverb fifth.
The time was 1.24.75 on the Heavy 9 track with the final 600m in 36.03. Pierro paid $1.90 on NSW TAB.
“What an outstanding horse, first up, 1400m and the first time without the blinkers on, really exciting,” said Waterhouse.
“I take nothing away from the horse who came third in the race, Proisir, a big strong colt who probably just needed that hit out to get to his peak.
“He (Pierro) has a lot more up his sleeve. I loved the way he was able to settle in the race, fourth or fifth, and he got his breathing going. Nash just picked him up, picked him up, and you do not have to win by much to win and that is exactly what he did,” she said.
Waterhouse was not clear on Pierro’s next race with the stable no doubt wanting to separate the two colts Pierro and Proisir.
“He does not like losing does he like that,” said Rawiller.
“A long way from home I was not as comfortable as I would have liked. I was able to sit on Hughie’s back until the straight and I probably thought that when I went for him that I pushed the button about 100m too soon and it nearly turned out that way.
“He has not changed; he still has the killer instinct. I thought we were beat at the 50m but he lifted for me and he was running on empty. He is a bigger stronger colt I think but I am amazed as to how much improvement he will take out of this run,” he said.
Pierro, picture sportpix.com.au
Pierro, by Lonhro out of the Daylami mare Miss Right Note, was returning to winning form for the first time since the Group 2 Bill Stutt Stakes over 1600m at Moonee Valley on September 28th. He was then second to All Too Hard in the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas over 1600m on October 13th and third to Ocean Park (NZ) and All Too Hard in the Group 1 WFA Cox Plate over 2040m back at the Valley on October 27th.
The Hobartville Stakes was his ninth win from just 11 starts and with the two placings he has earned stakes of $3,674,950 for owners Mr and Mrs G Kolivos.