It’s hard to believe Saturday’s Canterbury Classic (1300m) was Pierro’s (Lonhro – Miss Right Note, by Daylami) first Group 1 win for almost 11 months.
Pierro won the Sydney juvenile triple crown with the last of the victories coming in the Group 1 Champagne Stakes (1600m) at Randwick in April 2013 but raced only twice at the top level in his spring three-year-old campaign.
The Group 3 Run To The Rose (1200m) and Group 2 Stutt Stakes (1600m) provided Pierro with his two spring successes but the brilliant colt suffered his only two defeats in Melbourne in the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m) and Cox Plate (2040m).
Pierro on the Group 2 Hobartville Stakes (1400m) narrowly when resuming on March 2 but the son of Darley stallion Lonhro (Octagonal – Shadea, by Straight Strike) raced without blinkers first-up.
His trainer Gai Waterhouse decided Pierro would benefit from the reintroduction of blinkers for his clash with Tulloch Lodge’s other star More Joyous (More Than Ready – Sunday Joy, by Sunday Silence) in the Canterbury Stakes, which carried Group 1 status for the first time.
Waterhouse said choosing between her two outstanding performers was “like asking a mother to choose between her children, you love them both equally” but Pierro asserted his dominance over More Joyous in thrilling fashion.
Jim Cassidy positioned Pierro near the speed with More Joyous behind before a sharp turn of acceleration left him two lengths clear of the grand mare with 200 metres to travel, a break More Joyous could not bridge under weight-for-age conditions but she stuck to her task behind Sydney’s new star.
Pierro stretched his record to 10 wins from 10 starts in Sydney with his fourth Group 1 win, which sent the normally bubbly Waterhouse into overdrive.
“What an outstanding, outstanding colt,” she said. “Jimmy positioned him perfectly and he dug so deep. He had taken off about 2-1/2 (furlongs – 500m) from home.
“Nothing can be taken away from the mare (More Joyous) because she just went tenaciously to the post but he was just too brilliant on the day.”
More Joyous is likely to have her next outing in the Group I Queen Of Turf Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill on Golden Slipper day while Pierro will start as a short-priced favourite in the Group I George Ryder Stakes, also on April 6.