Pierata on track for $500,000 bonus after Vo Rogue Plate victory
Star Sydney sprinter Pierata kept alive his chances of claiming a $500,000 Summer Crown bonus after demolishing his rivals in the Vo Rogue Plate at Doomben on Saturday.
Pierata, ridden by Corey Brown, was controversially beaten when runner-up to Whypeeo in the Listed Gold Edition Stakes at his previous start when several riders complained they were denied fair starts.
However, trainer Greg Hickman put the controversy behind him and put ear muffs on the three-year-old on his way to the barriers for the 1350-metre Group 3 feature.
Pierata travelled midrace throughout before bursting from the ruck to down Dinnigan by 2-1/2 lengths with Goodfella third, a further long neck away.
“He should have won three straight now but you can’t cry over spilt milk,” Hickman said.
“We only had to keep him fresh and happy and we knew he’d do the job.
“We only put the ear muffs on to go to the barrier because he got a bit wound up last time.
“His work this week was good and the stars aligned. We would have been disappointed if he failed.”
Pierata will collect a $500,000 bonus if he wins his next start in the $2 million Magic Millions Guineas (1400m) at the Gold Coast in two weeks.
Trainer Matt Dunn was relieved when Care To Think managed to scrap into the $1 millions Magic Millions Cup (1400m) at the Gold Coast.
Care To Think had to overcome several obstacles during the running of The Buffering (1350m) before going on to down Most Important by 1-1/2 lengths with Trubia only a short head away, third.
Care To Think won a Highway Handicap at Randwick in August before scoring a brilliant first-up win at Doomben a fortnight ago.
“The plan was to come here today to get prizemoney for the Magic Millions as he didn’t quite have enough,” Dunn said.
“But he’s well and truly qualified now and he’s got the makings of a very good horse.
“I think he’s only going to get better later on and who knows where he could end up.”
Dunn admitted he was concerned a number of times in the run when jockey Jeff Lloyd was held up for a run before finally bursting into the clear.
Earlier co-trainers Kelso Wood and Patricia Gesler couldn’t fight back the tears after Snitzkraft eared a wildcard entry into the Magic Millions Snippets Handicap with an all the way win in the Listed Falvelon Quality (1050m).
Snitzkraft, rated one of the State’s best two-year-olds last season, led all the way to hold off the fast finishing Irish Constabulary by a short neck.
Havasay finished third, a further three-quarters of a length away.
Wood has been in ill-health over the past year and has relied heavily on his training partner Gesler to keep the stable going.
It was Snitzkraft’s fourth win from eight starts.
Snitzkraft was never paid up for the Magic Millions after being passed in as a yearling and had to win the Falvelon to earn a wildcard into the $1 million Magic Millions Snippets Handicap (1200m) at the Gold Cost on January 13.