Pierata has shot to favouritism for the $14 million Everest after winning The Shorts at Randwick.
The wet Randwick track might have scared a few runners out of The Shorts but trainer Greg Hickman is more than happy he decided to run Pierata.
The field for Saturday’s Group Two 1100m-sprint was reduced to five from 11 original acceptors including high profile horses Santa Ana Lane, Osborne Bulls and Sunlight.
In a tight finish, Pierata ($2.70 fav) prevailed over Classique Legend ($3.10) by half a length with a neck to Redzel ($4.40).
All three are headed to the $14 million Everest on October 19 for which Pierata is now favourite.
“We’ll go back home and see how he pulls up and what we have to do to get him to the races and be the same, or a little bit better than what he is,” Hickman said.
“He very rarely puts in a bad race. He put himself a bit closer where he was back and made that super run first up. He’s getting a bit tougher now for the 1200 where he’s not quite as fresh.
I’ve learned a little bit out of today and hopefully we can have him right on Everest day.”
Pierata firmed from $6 to $5 for The Everest with Shorts absentee Santa Ana Lane out from $5 to $6.
Classique Legend pleased trainer Les Bridge as much as he could without winning,
“He will improve: It’s not Everest day today is it? That’s all I’m worried about,” Bridge said.
Redzel has won the only two runnings of the Everest and co-trainer Peter Snowden says he is spot-on for a third.
“He’s flying. It’s probably disappointing for the punters who backed him but in four weeks he’ll fight harder than that,” Snowden said.
“He’s run really well, he jumped well, he showed intent, his cruising speed was there.
“He will trial in two weeks and run two weeks after that in the Everest.”
Pierata’s jockey Tommy Berry said the small field meant he was conscious of tactics but not concerned.
“They are tactical, small fields,” he said.
“Greg called me this morning and said what do you want to do. I said there are only five in it, it can’t be that hard.
“But I’m so happy for Greg. He has done such a great job with this horse and he has got an unbelievable group of owners.
“Bring on four weeks time!”
The Shorts was run on a soft track despite more than 80mm of rain during the week.