Pierro a source of speed and stamina

8 min read
The deeds of Pierro's daughter Arcadia Queen has labelled her the star of Western Australia, while the profile of her sire continues to lift. John Berry takes a look at the record of Pierro with only three crops to race, and selects a few Magic Millions lots by the young sire to look out for in January.

The golden summer being enjoyed in Perth by Bob and Sandra Peters got even better on Saturday when their talented home-breds Arcadia Queen (Pierro) and Galaxy Star (Redoute’s Choice) finished first and third in the G1 Kingston Town S. at Ascot on Saturday.

Both horses had won well two weeks previously and they came close to filling the quinella this time. Aside from being very talented and consistent, each provides an illustration of one of the key components in the Peters’ breeding programme: the judicious use of top-class stallions.

One might describe using Redoute’s Choice on a good mare as a no-brainer, but Mr and Mrs Peters were clearly equally keen to patronise Pierro (Lonhro) while he was still an unproven sire. It is easy to see why, as Pierro’s credentials were rock-solid.

There are many who feel that too many Australian breeders have painted themselves into the corner of speed as if speed and stamina are mutually exclusive attributes. Such an idea, of course, is nonsense, as the great stallions of history have always reminded us. The great sires have always been able repeatedly to instil class into their offspring right across the distances spectrum.

A remarkable racehorse

That was the case with Hyperion (GB) (Gainsborough {GB}) and was the case with his grandson Star Kingdom (Ire) (Stardust {GB}). It was the case with Northern Dancer (Can) (Nearctic {Can}) and was the case with Northern Dancer’s grandson Danehill (USA) (Danzig {USA}). And it has been the case with Danehill’s son Redoute’s Choice.

It is early days yet with Pierro as his oldest offspring are still only aged four, but it is seeming also to be the case with Pierro. If so, he will prove to be worth his weight in gold to the Australian breeding industry.

"The great sires have always been able repeatedly to instil class into their offspring right across the distances spectrum." - John Berry

Pierro was a remarkable racehorse, a sublime galloping illustration that speed and stamina are not mutually exclusive. Both sides of his pedigree are dripping with high-class stamina, but that did not stop him from being the perfect two-year-old in the 2011/’12 season. He took the Breeders’ Plate over 1000m in the spring; in the autumn he landed the G2 Silver Slipper S. over 1100m and the G2 Todman S. over 1200m as a warm-up for sweeping the board at 1200m, 1400m and 1600m in the Triple Crown. His G1 AAMI Golden Slipper S. win was superb; his G1 Inglis Sires’ Produce S. victory was even better when he came out best in his eagerly-awaited clash with Black Caviar’s much-vaunted half-brother All Too Hard (Casino Prince); and his G1 Moet & Chandon Champagne S. was outstanding as he strolled home by nearly three lengths.

Watch: Pierro winning the 2012 Golden Slipper

Stallion considerations

Pierro comes from the Sir Tristram sire-line and from a family which has been churning out high-class middle-distance runners in Europe for generations, including his very close relative Laverock (Ire) (Octagonal {NZ}), a G1 winner in both France and Italy who is a half-brother to Pierro’s dam Miss Right Note (Ire) (Daylami {Ire}).

As such, it was almost a given that Pierro would build on the outstanding achievements of his first season at three, progressing with both time and distance.

Without having been privy to the discussions which took place regarding Pierro’s programme, it is impossible not to feel that the decision to devise a schedule which meant that the only time he raced beyond 1600m was in the G1 Cox Plate was commercially motivated. He and All Too Hard were both outstanding milers, and the latter got the better (by half a length) of Pierro in a vintage edition of the G1 Caulfield Guineas when Pierro finally lost his unbeaten record. They filled the minor placings behind Ocean Park (NZ) (Thorn Park) in the Cox Plate.

"Times and fashions change, and the stallion market is big, big business." - John Berry

One has to suspect that if Pierro had been raced in a previous era (and this is not to disrespect Fiveandahalfstar (Hotel Grand) who won the Derby) he would have emulated the achievement of Sky High (Star Kingdom {Ire}) of winning both the Golden Slipper and the G1 Victoria Derby (in 1960).

That would have been Tommy Smith’s way; and, left to her own devices, one suspects that it would have been Gai Waterhouse’s way too. But times and fashions change, and the stallion market is big, big business. And, inexplicably, form beyond 2000m (or even beyond 1600m), however good it is, can be as likely to detract from a horse’s value as add to it.

Pierro with Gai Waterhouse following his G1 Golden Slipper win

A bold campaign

While Pierro’s connections eschewed the option to test him fully as regards his distance, he wasn’t allowed to rest on his laurels. Tommy Smith would have approved of the bold way in which Pierro was campaigned, and he would have approved of the way in which the horse rose to the challenge.

"Tommy Smith would have approved of the bold way in which Pierro was campaigned, and he would have approved of the way in which the horse rose to the challenge." - John Berry

Even in defeat on his final start he was outstanding. Given a huge weight for a three-year-old (57 kilos) in the G1 Doncaster Mile H., he beat all his rivals bar Sacred Falls (NZ) (O’Reilly {NZ}) – and Sacred Falls was receiving four kilos, had already won the G1 NZ 2,000 Guineas and would win the Doncaster again the following season.

Pierro headed off to Coolmore with his head held high, retiring sound after a 14-race career which had yielded 11 wins (including five in G1 company), two seconds and a third. He had shown high-class form from 1000m to 2040m.

Pierro now stands at Coolmore

Pierro has already sired the winners of 21 Group/Listed races.

His first crop threw up three Derby/Oaks winners last season: Levendi took the G1 AJC Derby, Pinot took the G1 VRC Oaks and Action took the G2 WATC Derby. But he is equally adept at producing high-class winners over considerably shorter. Arcadia Queen has just completed a quickfire hat-trick of feature races at the Perth Summer Carnival by taking the G3 WA Champion Fillies Stakes over 1600m, the G2 WA Guineas over 1600m (by three lengths) and the G1 Kingston Town S. over 1800m (by 4.5 lengths). Tulip (who was third in last year’s G1 Golden Slipper) and Pierata are both Group winners over 1200m.

The next generation at Magic Millions

It’s all coming together very nicely for Pierro, as always seemed likely to be the case. His 31 sons and daughters in next month’s Magic Millions Yearling Sale at the Gold Coast are bound to be very popular, both with those hoping to win the MM Two-Year-Old Classic 12 months later and with those who are taking a longer-term view with Classics and weight-for-age features in their minds.

These yearlings mostly come from very good families and via an interesting selection of broodmare sires. As he is Danehill-free, it goes without saying that Pierro has covered plenty of mares by Danehill or his sons, with both Levendi and Arcadia Queen having been produced by daughters of Redoute’s Choice.

That nick, though, is far from essential, of course, and Pinot, interestingly, is from a daughter of Pierro’s great-grandsire Zabeel (who herself, it should be added, is a daughter of a Danehill mare).


Lot 343, a daughter of the city-winning Danehill mare Amalienborg consigned by Baramul Stud, comes from this family, which has also yielded the top-class full-siblings Vengeance Of Rain (NZ) and Dizelle from matings with Zabeel. Baramul also consigns lot 719, a filly out of the G3-winning Redoute’s Choice mare Kittens who, like Pierro’s grandsire Octagonal, hails from the Eight Carat family which has yielded so many diamonds from the Sir Tristram sire-line.

Two closely-related Pierro colts, both consigned by Coolmore, who have pedigrees suggesting top-level success are lots 69 and 736. The latter is a son of the G1 SA Oaks-winning Danehill mare Larrocha, who herself is a full-sister to G1 VRC Derby winner Blackfriars plus G2 Tulloch S. winner Manton and two listed winners, and who has already bred G2 Wakeful S. winner Rocha (Encosta De Lago). The former is a son of Rocha, who boasts a perfect four-winner clean sheet from her four foals to have raced.

Another yearling fully entitled to be a high-class and durable racehorse is lot 745, a filly sent up from Victoria by Rosemont Stud. She is out of the super-tough listed-winning Danehill mare Lilakyn (NZ), a daughter of the outstanding Sir Tristram mare Popsy (NZ) who won the G1 NZ Derby and is the dam of G1 NZ 2,000 Guineas winner and G1 NZ Derby runner-up Rock ‘N’ Pop (Fastnet Rock).

For those trying to unearth a yearling with solid prospects of contesting the Magic Millions 2YO Classic 12 months later, lot 564 and lot 798 make obvious appeal. The latter, consigned by Westbury Stud (NZ), is a son of Military Rose (General Nediym) who won that race in 2010 and then subsequently landed both the G2 Reisling S. at two and the G3 Gold Coast Guineas at three. The former, consigned by Segenhoe Stud, is a son of G2 Emancipation S. winner Faith Hill (Danehill) and is thus very closely related to Faith Hill’s very fast daughter Black Minx (Lonhro), a dual Listed winner in Brisbane who has already bred the twice G1-placed winner So Si Bon (So You Think).