It’s been a long time since Australian racing has been fortunate enough to have two three year old colts of the calibre of Pierro and All Too Hard.
They are two world class colts who would not be out of place on the world stage – in any of the premier Group One classics in either the UK or France, or any other elite race in any other country.
They’ve had two memorable clashes, in the Caulfield Guineas last spring, where All Too hard was the victor, and in the Cox Plate where All Too Hard again finished ahead of him in Australasia’s premier weight for age championship.
Fast track to the Autumn of 2013, and All Too Hard has looked awesome in his two starts so far, winning the Group One Orr Stakes against some very classy older rivals, and then repeating his win a fortnight later in another Group One – the Futurity and dispensing of his rivals with contempt.
And so, last Saturday’s Australian Guineas, another Group One, and this time against his own age group, looked a mere formality.
To use a betting analogy, it was a “put in and take out” exercise in punting. But, All Too Hard never got the opportunity to add another Group One to his already ultra impressive CV. He was scratched on race morning, reportedly with an elevated temperature.
Meanwhile in Sydney on a bottomless Warwick Farm track, his arch rival Pierro had to dig deep, like he had never done before, to withstand the challenge of a seriously good up and coming rival in Rebel Dane to gain first prize by a very narrow margin.
Ahead in the Sydney Autumn carnival is the tantalizing prospect of a clash worth going a long way to see between All Too Hard and Pierro.
It would settle a lot of unanswered questions as to whether, for starters, these two champion colts can be separated for ability alone.
Clearly All Too Hard appears to have the edge on Pierro in the anti-clockwise Melbourne way of racing.
Equally Pierro, so far, has had the upper hand when racing in Sydney. And as more mature three year olds, on the cusp of their four year old season, their Sydney clashes could be telling.
But will they ever meet? There seem to be no shortage of obstacles in the way of these two great champion colts going head to head in Sydney this Autumn. The weather for a start could derail such a clash.
With the popular long range forecast predicting a wet Autumn, and if the past few weeks are any guide we could be in for another Autumn Carnival marred by the weather gods.
With such a scenario, it is highly unlikely connections of All Too Hard would risk starting him on heavy and very wet tracks. They have too much at risk.
With a trip to Royal Ascot very much on the radar and a lucrative stud career imminent, we are betting that connections could pull the pin on an Australian Autumn carnival campaign for All Too Hard and head to Royal Ascot instead, or even send him to the stud for the new stud season. And that would be a great pity for racing.
As for Pierro, there were many at Warwick Farm who were surprised he even started in the Hobartville last Saturday on such a dangerously heavy track.
Even though Pierro has won on a heavy surface, he was first up from a break and we can only hope that the hard and tough run on such a testing surface will not flatten this wonderful colt and adversely affect the rest of his Autumn carnival.
For racing’s sake, a Rosehill or Randwick clash of these glamour colts All Too Hard and Pierro would do wonders for the turnstiles and for getting racing on the front pages of the dailies and as one of the lead items in the electronic media and as a topic du jour in online racing forums.
COOLMORE LEADS THE RACE FOR PIERRO
From what we are hearing here in Sydney, Irish breeding conglomerate and prominent Hunter valley breeding operation Coolmore, is leading the race, at this point in time to secure breeding rights for Pierro.
Darley, who stand his sire Lonhro, has been coy about their interest in Pierro, but the main opposition to Coolmore could come from a newcomer to the Australian breeding industry in Newgate Farm, which secured Foxwedge last year and has some heavy hitters from Uncle Sam territory backing them.
With yearling sale prices remaining remarkably stable, if not slightly buoyant, some of the bigger established Hunter Valley breeding farms along with some of the “newbies” in the breeding industry are on high alert to snap up colts with multiple Group One wins on their CV and with All Too Hard out of the market and Pierro almost in the same zone, connections of some opf the up and coming future stars are keeping their fingers crossed they can share some of the spoils.
PETER, YOU DOTH PROTESTETH WAY TOO MUCH
It came as no surprise to see Peter “the not so great” V’Landys leading the charge expressing the outrage and indignation of the Australian racing industry when it was confirmed that an unraced South African two year old colt had been named Black Caviar and was scheduled to make his racecourse debut at Durbanville during the week.
In typical V’landys fashion, it was theatrical. Here was the man dubbed the “saviour” of NSW and Australian racing seizing the moral high ground and assuming, correction, usurping the role of the voice of Australian racing.
Bugger the Australian Racing Board, and even his own Chairman – John “the messiah” Messara, it was vintage V’landys.
“There is an understanding among racing jurisdictions not to allow the name of a great racehorse to be used again, either in the country of the horse’s origin or anywhere else in the world”, V’Landys was quoted as telling the Daily Telegraph’s Ray Thomas.
“I’ll certainly be contacting my South African counterparts to rectify the anomaly immediately. This should not have been allowed to happen”.
No argument whatsoever with V”landys on this one. International agreements and understandings among racing jurisdictions MUST not only be respected, they MUST be complied with and observed by ALL parties.
They must not be paid lip service to by signatories and cherry picked according to the whims and agendas of governing bodies who are duty bound by the protocols and memorandums of understanding and by binding agreements.
There is also something vaguely referred to as a “spirit of cooperation” between international racing jurisdictions, which together with the agreements and understandings seem to be conveniently forgotten when self serving agendas rear their very fucking ugly heads in racing and particularly in NSW.
V’Landys’ willingness to break a land speed record to take the moral high ground and be racing’s knight in shining armour in defending the glory of Black Caviar and preventing her name and status being usurped by those dastardly South Africans, is a polar opposite to the stand he took on the infamous Chris Munce riding ban several years ago.
This is the same person, who gave these very same international understandings and agreements that he now professes to uphold and champion, the two fingered salute when defying these very international understandings and agreements, to grant Chris Munce a licence to ride in NSW when every other Australian racing jurisdiction decided to honour and comply with the riding ban imposed on Munce by Hong Kong.
Sounds pretty disingenuous and duplicitous doesn’t it? Even hypocritical perhaps? Swallow a turd, mate?
This is, and has been our fundamental problem with Peter “the not so great” V’landys.
When it comes to spinning, even the great Shane Warne wouldn’t hold a candle to him. It’s always been his way or the highway. He has and still is the tail wagging the dog in NSW racing. And if his Chairman john “the messiah” doesn’t believe it, he is as delusional as those who preceded him. And we all know their fate.
V’landys has his fingerprints over just about every racing issue in NSW and is working his arse off to do the same nationally.
And a very sobering thought for John “the messiah” Messara. Sorry, John, you are not the person who runs NSW racing. That person is your very own CEO.
ANOTHER SUSPENSION FOR THE “NASHER”
Just what is going on with Nash Rawiller? He is a serial visitor to the Stewards Room on race day. And his warnings and suspensions for interference in races are not befitting a jockey of his ability, stature or record of success.
It must send Gai Waterhouse round the twist having to shuffle the deck chairs with riders for her team.
Nash has only just resumed riding from injury and- bingo- he’s back in Ray Murrihy’s bad books.
Irrespective of the outcome of his appeal against the suspension, Nash can and must do better. He is one of Sydney’s top jockeys, strong and aggressive in a finish and equally at his best on a front runner and one of the best judges of pace and tactics in a race.
He is the number one jockey for Sydney’s leading stable, but his string of indiscretions are becoming more than just a problem.
Fortunately for Nash he is not riding in Hong Kong. Kim Kelly and his Panel would not hesitate in reading him the riot act, let alone lightening his wallet in a big way.
Pull your finger out Nash, while you can!
TOMMY BERRY’S WONDERFUL GESTURES
“Family comes first” is an adage that these days seems to be regarded as one of those outdated values that has no place in a society that these days where greed and unadulterated self interest is the mantra of choice that just about everyone lives by.
So when the Daily Telegraph’s Ray Thomas ran a story that Tommy Berry had bought his parents a house, and previously done the same for his uncle and aunt, it was one of the best good news stories in racing in NSW for a very long time.
“Mum and dad moved into their new house last months and they are rapt”, Tommy told Ray Thomas.
“I’ve always wanted to do this for them. When we were growing up it was a struggle, but Mum and Dad always made sure Nathan (Tommy’s twin brother), and I didn’t go without anything we needed. Mum and Dad brought us up to respect other people and to help when we can, and Nathan and I haven’t changed since the day we started riding.
“Now that I have a little bit of money, I can share it with other people and they can be as happy as I am”.
Food for thought for some of the mining, property, and dot com billionaires in Australian and for Australia’s richest woman Gina Rinehart, in particular.
Racing can be proud of Tommy Berry. These are old fashioned values that thankfully still resonate with some of his generation. Classy stuff from a 21 year old, who has often come across as self deprecating, very down to earth and engaging.