At Royal Randwick in Sydney, Darley's former Champion Australian Sire & 11-time Gr1-winning World Champion Miler Lonhro (Octagonal-Shadea, by Straight Strike) celebrated an elite race success when 3YO Australian-bred colt Kementari (Lonhro-Yavanna, by Redoute's Choice) confirmed himself as one of the rising stars of Australian racing with a brilliant win in the $1 million Gr1 Randwick Guineas (1600m) for 3YOs, defeating Pierata & Trapeze Artist. Trainer James Cummings was in awe of Kementari's dominant victory. "He is a serious horse," Cummings told Godolphin.com. "He's put them away in the style of a really high class colt. On that performance, he has to be one of the best in the country." He added: "This is the sort of horse that Sheikh Mohammed is in racing for." Cummings would not be drawn on whether Kementari would now head to next month's Gr1 Doncaster Mile where he will carry just 51kg. "We make no decisions on race day," he said. A homebred for Darley and Godolphin, Kementari advanced his record to 4 wins (including the Gr2 ATC Hobartville Stakes & Gr3 ATC Eskimo Prince Stakes) and 3 placings (including the Gr1 Caulfield Guineas) from 9 starts for $1,368,250 in earnings. Kementari is out of the Redoute's Choice mare Yavanna making him a half-brother to the very talented Listed Lonhro Plate winner & Gr1 ATC Sires' Produce Stakes runner-up Telperion. Yavanna, herself, is a daughter of dual Gr3 winner Wild Queen and is a direct descendant of VRC & Queensland Oaks winner and celebrated blue hen Denise's Joy. This is one of the most sought-after families in the Australian Stud Book and includes the likes of 8-time Gr1 winner More Joyous, Australian Oaks winner Sunday Joy, 4-time Gr1 winner Tuesday Joy, deceased Gr1-winning stallion Thorn Park, and Gr1 Vinery Stud Stakes winner Fenway, among many others.
At Rosehill Gardens in Sydney, what is likely to prove one of the form races of the season for 3YOs could equally turn out to have posed more questions than answers. Over the 1400m journey, Darley's former Champion Australian Sire & 11-time Gr1-winning World Champion Miler Lonhro (Octagonal-Shadea, by Straight Strike) added a Group race success when 3YO Australian-bred colt Kementari (Lonhro-Yavanna, by Redoute's Choice) made it back-to-back stakes wins in saluting by a length for trainer James Cummings in the $400,000 Gr2 Hobartville Stakes for 3YO colts & geldings. Not content to ride for luck, jockey Glyn Schofield pinged favourite Kementari from his wide barrier to sit just off Gr1 Golden Rose winner Trapeze Artist before wresting control soon after entering the straight. A significant plunge on recent Magic Millions 3YO Guineas hero Pierata after he had left the mounting yard was close to the money with the rising star 3YO colt closing strongly to finish just ahead of equally impressive hitherto unbeaten colt D'Argento. Godolphin's assistant trainer Darren Beadman was hugely impressed with the run, enthusing, "To run past a horse like Trapeze Artist, who has the runs on the board, was very impressive. This was a test for him (Kementari) today and he has put them away nicely. We have seen a star in the making." Kementari's win took his record to 3 wins (including last start's Gr3 Eskimo Prince Stakes) & 3 placings (including the Gr1 Caulfield Guineas & Gr3 Caulfield Guineas Prelude) from 8 starts for $781,250 earnings. The result sets up a hugely intriguing Gr1 Randwick Guineas in less than two weeks. Bookies have priced Kementari $3 favourite for the Sydney 3YO mile feature ahead of D'Argento ($4.20) and Pierata ($6.00). Fifth-placed dual Gr1 winner Ace High ran a bottler and will be much better suited over the mile for which he is at $15. Looking ahead to Kementari's Randwick Guineas engagement, Beadman was emphatic: "This colt has a mile written all over him. He is very brilliant but is a clean-winded horse and that will assist him in getting a strong 1600m."
Trainer Greg Hickman is quietly confident that rising star colt Pierata (Pierro-November Flight, by Flying Spur) will acquit himself well in tomorrow's Gr2 Hobartville Stakes (1400m) at Rosehill. Pierata - who has built an imposing record of 4 wins from 8 starts including the Gr3 Vo Rogue Plate at Doomben and Listed (R) Magic Millions 3YO Guineas at the Gold Coast - faces the biggest challenge of his career in the $400,000 3YO feature. The son of Pierro will be up against a high-class line-up that includes Golden Rose winner Trapeze Artist, VRC Derby & Spring Champion Stakes winner Ace High, Kementari, and boom colt D'Argento. "My jockey [Corey Brown] loves my horse and he's done well through the week," Hickman told racingnsw.com.au. "If he comes out and beats them all it'll be happy days. You don't get many horses that have had eight starts and won nearly $2 million and if worse comes to worse we can go back to the Gold Coast next year." Hickman added: "He's just improved every time he's gone around. He's done everything right and whatever happens, happens." Hickman says Pierata has the potential to be the best horse he has ever trained. That's high praise indeed when you consider he has prepared horses such as Gr2 winners Sportsman, Sir Dex, and the enigmatic but richly talented Private Secretary. "This bloke has been unassuming. Yes he's done everything right but he's not doing anything different to the other horses," he said. "The only thing with this bloke is there's nothing wrong with him. If he stays sound that's why he'll end up being better. I'm just happy to be racing in Group races again, having some nice horses around."
Highly regarded colt Kementari (Lonhro-Yavanna, by Redoute's Choice) will be out to test his Guineas credentials when he contests the $400,000 Gr2 ATC Hobartville Stakes (1400m) at Randwick on Saturday. Kementari turned in one of the most eye-catching performances by a 3YO this season when resuming with a dashing win in the Gr3 Eskimo Prince Stakes (1200m) at Warwick Farm on 10 February. The dynamic nature of the win prompted Godolphin trainer James Cummings to label the son of Lonhro "world class" and showed why the royal blue army consider him a leading contender for the $1 million Gr1 Randwick Guineas (1600m) in Sydney on 10 March. "He was well-treated under the conditions of his last race. Now he has to step up again at level weights against some very good three-year-olds in the Hobartville," Cummings told Godolphin.com. "This is all about who's the best." Cummings added: "His first-up win spoke for itself...he was able to take his first-up run very well and he's held his form nicely. He's made me eager to get him back to the races." Chief among Kementari's rivals on Saturday are Magic Millions 3YO Guineas winner Pierata, Gr1 Golden Rose winner Trapeze Artist, and Chris Waller's exciting unbeaten colt D'Argento.
Top Queensland 3YO Capital Gain is back on track for an Australian Derby campaign after connections recently discovered he had been racing with a fractured skull, reports Racing Queensland Webnews. Trainer Paul Butterworth made the shocking discovery following Capital Gain's prima facie disappointing first-up performance (13th of 16 behind Pierata) in the Gr3 BRC Vo Rogue Plate on 30 December. "The only explanation I can think of is he's done it in the sand roll, but there was no cuts or abrasions on his head," Butterworth said. "To think he's only been beaten six-and-a-half lengths in the Vo Rogue with a fractured skull…" Butterworth sent last season's Gr1 Jj Atkins Stakes winner for a short break before resuming light work on the water walker at Washpool Lodge, Aratula. "The fracture has calcified and he's returned to full work and is back to his normal self...he's going super," he said. Capital Gain is scheduled to trial at Deagon next Tuesday before resuming in either a QTIS 3YO over 1350m at Doomben or the Gr2 Hobartville Stakes (1400m) at Rosehill on 24 February.
At the Gold Coast in Queensland, Coolmore's 2YO Triple Crown-winning Champion stallion Pierro (Lonhro-Miss Right Note, by Daylami) added a restricted stakes race success when rising star colt Pierata (Pierro-November Flight, by Flying Spur) showed why he is considered one of the most exciting 3YOs in the country when sprinting clear for a brilliant win in the $2 million Listed (R) Magic Millions 3YO Guineas (1400m) for 3YOs, defeating Goodfella & Calculated. Pierata, who improved his record to 4 wins (including the Gr3 Magic Millions Vo Rogue Plate) and 2 placings from 8 starts for $1,481,650 in earnings, was a $160,000 purchase at the 2016 Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale from the draft of Kitchwin Hills. He also collected a $500,000 bonus for claiming the Summer Crown grand slam which, along with the $1.2 million winner's cheque, provided his connections with the richest payday ($1.7 million) in Queensland racing history. Trainer Greg Hickman said Pierata had the potential to develop into a serious racehorse. "When he grows up you'll see a real racehorse," Hickman told Racing Queensland Webnews. "He's not there yet and that's the scary thing." He added: "I'd love to run him in a race like the Doncaster [Gr1] but he'll go to the paddock now and we'll just look after him before we work out a plan."
Meanwhile, Magic Millions Guineas favourite Pierata (Pierro-November Flight, by Flying Spur) will have to pass an inspection today before being allowed to run in tomorrow's $2 million 3YO feature at the Gold Coast, reports racenet. The inspection was ordered after Gold Coast chief steward Allan Reardon said he was not happy with the 3YOs action. "There are no huge concerns at this stage but the vets indicated they weren't 100 percent satisfied, so they will have a look at Pierata again tomorrow," Reardon said. Trainer Greg Hickman said the colt was fine and wondered why another vet examination was needed. "Ask Mr Reardon," he said. Pierata, a last-start runaway winner of the Gr3 Vo Rogue Plate (1350m) at Doomben, is currently the dominant $2.25 TAB favourite for the Guineas.
Highly rated colt Pierata has maintained his grip on favouritism for Saturday's Listed (R) Magic Millions 3YO Guineas (1400m) at the Gold Coast after drawing barrier one for the $2 million feature. The Greg Hickman-trained son of Pierro is currently the dominant $2.60 TAB favourite for the juvenile feature, ahead of the Kris Lees-trained Sasso Corbaro ($6) who drew wide in barrier 14. The Bjorn Baker-trained Goodfella and the Team Hawkes-trained Wildheart saw their price firm into $9.50 after drawing well in barriers 6 and 3 respectively. Click here to view the Magic Millions Guineas field and barriers.
Eighteen three-year-olds have accepted to run in Saturday's $2 million Listed (R) Magic Millions 3YO Guineas (1400m) at the Gold Coast. With a field limit of 16 runners there are two emergencies. Highly rated Pierro colt Pierata is the dominant $2.50 TAB favourite for the race, with Sasso Corbaro ($5) and Calculated ($9) the only other runners under double figure odds. Click here to view the Magic Millions Guineas field.
At Doomben in Brisbane, Coolmore's Triple Crown-winning Champion 2YO and now rising sire-star Pierro (Lonhro-Miss Right Note, by Daylami) added a black-type success when rising 3YO star colt Pierata (Pierro-November Flight, by Flying Spur) swamped his rivals when winning by 2.5-lengths for trainer Greg Hickman in the $200,000 Gr3 Magic Millions Vo Rogue Plate (1350m) for 3YOs. Filling the placings were filly Dinnigan (Snitzel-Fashion Rocks, by Dehere) & fellow colt Goodfella (Snitzel-Movie, by Red Ransom). Pierata, who now looks a huge chance in the $2 million Magic Millions 3YO Guineas, had put the writing on the wall in his previous run when runner-up in the Listed Gold Edition. If he proves successful next week, his connections would not only pocket the $1.2 million first prize, but also a $500,000 bonus for winning the Summer Crown. Pierata, who now has 3 wins & 2 placings from 7 starts for $276,650 earnings, was a $160,000 yearling at the 2016 Magic Millions Gold Coast Sale where he was consigned by Kitchwin Hills.
At Doomben in Brisbane, Yarraman Park's Gr3-winning stallion I Am Invincible (Invincible Spirit-Cannarelle, by Canny Lad) added a black-type success when talented 3YO Australian-bred gelding Whypeeo (I Am Invincible-Sunset Boulevard, by Fasliyev) held on for a narrow maiden stakes victory in the $100,000 Listed Gold Edition Plate (1200m) for 3YOs, defeating Pierata & Shogun Sun. A $200,000 purchase by Blue Sky Bloodstock at the 2016 Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale, Whypeeo improved his record to 4 wins and 1 placing from 6 starts for $166,960 in earnings. Stable foreman Trent Edmonds said Whypeeo would have his next start in the Gr3 Vo Rogue Plate (1350m) at Doomben in two weeks. A decision will then be made whether he targets the final leg of the Sumer Crown series, the $2 million Magic Millions Guineas (1400m) at the Gold Coast on 13 January. "His next run will be in the Vo Rogue and that run will tell us whether he can run 1400 metres," Edmonds told Racing Queensland. "If he doesn't go on to the Magic Million Guineas, he'll go for the Magic Millions Sprint." A $400,000 bonus is on offer for any horse that can win three of the five races in the Summer Crown series.
Warwick Farm trainer Greg Hickman says the best is yet to come from Pierata after the exciting colt resumed with a dominant win in the Winning Rupert Plate (1200m) at Doomben on Saturday. Pierata (Pierro-November Flight, by Flying Spur) will now chase the Summer Crown series including the Listed Gold Edition Stakes on 16 December and the Gr3 Vo Rogue Plate at Doomben on 30 December, before the Magic Millions 3YO Guineas at the Gold Coast on 13 January. He will collect a $500,000 bonus if he can win three races in the five-race series. "He's not there yet but I think he's a very smart horse," Hickman said. "He trialled very well before coming up here and we were very confident." A $160,000 purchase by Hickman at the 2016 Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale from the draft of Kitchwin Hills, Pierata record now reads 2 wins from 5 starts for $128,650 in earnings.
Meanwhile, another 3YO eyeing the rich Summer Crown bonus over the Queensland summer carnival is the highly regarded Pierata who resumes in tomorrow's Winning Rupert Plate (1200m) at Doomben, reports racenet. Trained by Greg Hickman, Pierata (Pierro-November Flight, by Flying Spur) has only won one of his four starts to date, but showed his class when finishing third behind champion Kiwi 2YO Melody Belle in the Gr3 BRC Sires' Produce Stakes and seventh (beaten just 2.1 lengths) to Capital Gain in the Gr1 JJ Atkins Stakes in the winter. Hickman revealed that Pierata's owners had knocked back a $1 million offer for the colt following his impressive 5.5 length barrier trial win at Randwick on 16 November. "We have already knocked back a million dollars for him but he could be running for more than that in Queensland this summer," Hickman said. "He is a horse who has improved lengths on his first preparation." Hickman added: "He was a little immature earlier so I just took him along quietly but now he will keep improving and improving…He is ready to do it this preparation." Hickman said Pierata was on track for his return after a pleasing piece of work on the Gold Coast on Tuesday. Click here to watch Pierata's recent trial win.
At Eagle Farm racecourse in Brisbane on Saturday, Darley's deceased Gr3-winning & multiple Gr1-placed stallion Commands (Danehill-Cotehele House, by My Swanee) added a Group success when 2YO filly Melody Belle (Commands-Meleka Belle, by Iffraaj) stamped herself as a serious racehorse with an emphatic win in the $250,000 Gr2 BRC Sires' Produce Stakes (1400m) for 2YOs, defeating Taking Aim & Pierata. Purchased for $57,500 by Te Akau Racing principal David Ellis on behalf of Fortuna Bloodstock at the 2016 NZB Premier Yearling Sale from the draft of Haunui Farm, Melody Belle improved her record to 4 wins (including the Gr1 Manawatu Sires Produce Stakes & Listed Karaka Million) and 1 placing (including the Gr2 WRC Wakefield Challenge Stakes) from 6 starts for NZ$826,220 earnings. Melody Belle, who became the first Kiwi horse to win the Sires' since Mr Shannon in 1986, is now the firm $2.80 favourite for the Gr1 JJ Atkins Stakes (1600m) at Eagle Farm on 10 June. "It was a super ride from Opie [jockey Opie Bosson] to put her in such a great spot," co-trainer Jamie Richards told Racing Queensland Webnews. "She didn't travel over too well [from New Zealand] but she should improve further for the JJ Atkins." Richards added: "She's out of a tough New Zealand family and 1600 metres should be spot on for her.