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Track to determine if Pierata runs

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Trainer Greg Hickman will delay a decision on Pierata running in The Shorts as long as possible.

Pierata is no certainty to take his place in The Shorts with Greg Hickman joining the list of trainers reluctant to run their Everest contenders on a heavily rain-affected track at Randwick.

Tony and Calvin McEvoy have indicated Sunlight is in doubt to run in Saturday’s sprint on heavy ground while Anthony Freedman has delayed Santa Ana Lane’s scheduled departure from Melbourne to further monitor the weather.

In Her Time is also a “highly unlikely” starter according to trainer Kris Lees, who has confirmed the mare might now resume in The Everest, although stablemate Graff will take his place on Saturday at Randwick.

With the track rated a heavy 9 on Thursday, Hickman will keep all options on the table and says while Pierata is proven in the wet – one of his best wins was on a heavy surface in the Sydney Stakes last year – he does not want to compromise the horse’s Everest preparation.

“I don’t want him going around second-up on a bog track so we’ll probably leave it to at least Friday to see how things are, talk to a few people,” Hickman said.

“We might even go for a drive out there and have a look at it ourselves on Friday.

“They’re saying it could get back to an eight. If it got back to an eight, that would be good.”

A Group One winner of the All Aged Stakes in the autumn, Pierata indicated he was back better than ever when he ran a sizzling final sectional to come from last and finish second to Redzel first up in the Concorde Stakes.

Hickman reported the horse had tightened up from the run and continued to work well at home at Warwick Farm, enjoying an uninterrupted preparation despite the rain in Sydney this week.

He is also in no doubt the five-year-old is still improving.

“He’s probably lightened up eight kilos since he ran the other day, so it did tuck him up a little bit,” Hickman said.

“He’s a lot stronger and more mature this time than he was last time and you can see he’s starting to clean up in the coat in certain areas.

“He’s maturing all the time. He only lost his last baby tooth last month so that’s telling us something.”

If Pierata does not contest The Shorts, the Premiere Stakes (1200m) at Randwick in two weeks is the most likely option, a fortnight before the $14 million The Everest.

The rain has put a dampener on what was shaping as wonderful edition of The Shorts with six Everest slot holders accepting, along with Godolphin’s leading contender Osborne Bulls and Graff, who put himself in the Everest frame with a first-up third in the Concorde Stakes.

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