Daily News Wrap

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Pierata targets G1 triple

Star sprinter-miler Pierata (Pierro) will resume at the G1 Canterbury S. on March 9, on a path to the TJ Smith S. and the All Aged S.

Trainer Greg Hickman confirmed the 4-year-old's plans on Sky Sports Radio, with Pierata returning to work in recent days, having had six weeks off since running third in the G1 VRC Sprint Classic in November.

"He's come back in really good condition. He's bright and happy. He's just started to do a bit of pacework and we are looking to give him a trial around 7 February," he said.

"The horse looks the best he has ever looked I would say."


While admitting the jump around in distances from the 1300m of the Canterbury S. into the 1200m of the TJ Smith and then the 1400m of the All Aged S. was not exactly ideal, he backed the horse to handle a campaign at the elite level.

"He can sprint off a fast tempo which is pretty handy," he said.

Pierata kicked off his last campaign with a victory over Kementari (Lonhro) in the G3 Missile S. and would go on to win the G3 Sydney S. at Randwick on the same day as The Everest.

Clapper Happy and ready to go

Neither a clash with Winx (Street Cry {Ire}) nor a recovery from a bleeding attack concerns Pat Webster about his star galloper Happy Clapper (Teofilo {Ire}) heading into the autumn.

Happy Clapper's spring plans were derailed after he bled when fifth in the G1 Makybe Diva S. at Flemington in September, but after serving his three-month ban, Webster feels the 8-year-old is ready to go again.

"We're happy with him. We have decided to hold him back a little bit and trial him on the 24th and then he’ll trial nine days before the (G2) Apollo S.," he told Sky Sports Radio.

Happy Clapper

"At the moment, we are very, very happy with him and I'm pretty sure it was a one-off thing."

Winx has won the Apollo S. twice before and is likely to kick off her final campaign in that race, but Webster is not concerned with another clash with the queen of Australian racing.

"I think he's run four seconds to her and he's still earned $6.3 million. The last time he ran against her, he earned $90,000 for running second. He's got to start somewhere and he's got to have a couple of conditioning runs to get to 1600m, and it suits us to start there," Webster said.

The three-time Group 1 winner will target the inaugural All-Star Mile at Flemington on March 16.

Sun City out of Millions

Tony McEvoy's hopes of winning back-to-back Magic Millions 2YO Classic have been dealt a blow with his star colt Sun City (Zoustar) ruled out of the $2-million race.

Sun City is suffering an infection in an off-fore joint and the colt has undergone treatment, ruling him out of the race.

Sun City will miss the Magic Millions feature race

"Very disappointing, just really bad timing," McEvoy told Racing.com after the infection was discovered.

"I saw him work on Monday and Tuesday and he worked fantastic, but on Wednesday he really wasn't himself."

"Obviously the horse's welfare comes first and we won't run him if he's showing any signs he's not okay."

McEvoy later told stewards that the horse would not contest the race.

Sun City, who won the G3 BJ McLachlan S. at his most recent start, was fourth favourite for the $2m race.

McEvoy's filly Hills (Not A Single Doubt) can still qualify for the Classic should she win the QTIS 2-year-old race at the Gold Coast this Saturday.

Princess eyes Concorde

G1 Sistema Railway S. runner-up Princess Kereru (NZ) (Pins) is unlikely to tackle the G1 JR & N Telegraph at Trentham on January 19 with a preference to head to the G3 Brighthill Farm Concorde H. at Ellerslie on Karaka Million night.

Ken Kelso, who trains the mare with his wife Bev as well as Mark Donoghue, said the narrow defeat to Santa Monica (NZ) (Per Incanto {USA}) in the Railway on New Year's Day was hard to take.

“It was a huge effort and a great ride from Cameron (Lammas),” Kelso said. “We thought we were home for a while, but the other horse got up."

"Maybe we were down in the worst gate on the inside, but I’m making excuses with that. It was a terrific effort, she is Group 1-placed, so you can’t beat that."

“It’s a great result for the stable and the staff who do all of the hard work and I couldn’t be happier."

“She may come back here for the Concorde the week later and try to get that full black type. But we’ll see how she goes.”

Heat cooks Stawell meeting

Friday's meeting at Stawell has been rescheduled to next Monday due to extreme hot weather forecast.

The Stawell Racing Club, Australian Trainers Association and Victorian Jockey Association have confirmed the meeting will move to Monday, January 7 to ensure the safety of the horses and participants, with temperatures of 43 degrees forecast.

Acceptances for the meeting have been extended until Friday.

The sole Victorian meeting on Friday will now be held at night at Cranbourne.

Earlier this week, Racing NSW transferred Saturday's Warwick Farm meeting to Kensington because of the predicted hot weather.