The betting market suggests it will be a showdown between Gai Waterhouse’s stable stars More Joyous and Pierro in the 2012 Cox Plate at Moonee Valley later this month.
Star colt Pierro shortened to a clear $3.70 bookmaker.com.au favourite after passing his Moonee Valley test with flying colours and a five-length win in the Bill Stutt Stakes on Friday night.
More Joyous ($6.00) was just as impressive when scoring a 2-1/2 length hands-down victory in the Group 3 Golden Pendant (1400m) and looks the most likely challenger to the star colt.
Waterhouse was full of admiration for Pierro on Friday night but was just as strong in her praise for More Joyous on Saturday.
“(That was) just a working gallop…she’s just joyous isn’t she?” Waterhouse said.
Stable jockey Nash Rawiller is the number one jockey on both stable stars but said on Saturday he would be happy to go against the colt in the prestigious weight-for-age race.
“This mare’s been so good to me over four or five years,” Rawiller said.
“At this point in time I’d be more than happy with the great mare.”
Trailing the pair in the market is New Zealand four-year-old Ocean Park ($6.50) who won the Group 1 Makfi Challenge in New Zealand first-up before arriving in Australia to take out the Group 1 Underwood Stakes (1800m).
Ocean Park beat Peter Moody’s star import Manighar ($9.00) by 3 1/2 lengths on that day but the six-year-old generally runs flat second-up and is likely to improve heading towards the Cox Plate.
Others towards the top end of the Cox Plate market are unbeaten Waterhouse-trained colt Proisir ($12.00), Caulfield Cup runner-up Green Moon ($13.00) and last year’s third placegetter Rekindled Interest ($14.00).
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