The question on everyone’s lips for the 2014 Cox Plate is exactly what kind of horse the favourite Pierro is.
Are they one of those brilliant three-year-olds that fails to step up to the grade in the iconic weight-for-age feature?
Or will they prove to be a genuine turf great and win the ‘race where legends are made’?
Gai Waterhouse’s Lonhro colt is already hot property when it comes to the breeding barn having amassed over $3.3 million in prize money over their stunning nine start career to date headlined by a triple shot of Group 1 races.
Winning their opening eight races the boom three-year-old suffered their first defeat last time out when they were run down by another smart three-year-old who they face again in the Cox Plate, All Too Hard scoring an upset in the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m).
Waterhouse however believes on Saturday Pierro has what it takes to bounce back and add a coveted Cox Plate trophy to his, and her, record saying the shock loss might actually have bought them on.
“He looks magnificent, he really does look fantastic and he’s a ball of muscle,” she said.
“I’ve always been a great admirer of Pierro. I can’t see why he can’t win this race and I’ve set him for it all along.”
The bookies are also taking no chances on the young gun and have had Pierro installed at the top of the Cox Plate odds since well before the final field of 14 was announced this week.
The punters however look like they still need to be convinced as Pierro has eased out from $4 to $4.40 in the Cox Plate betting markets at bookmaker.com.au.
So can Pierro return to the winners stall and enter the history books as one of the few horses to win the Cox Plate at three?
Below we take a look at the pros and cons of backing the 2012 Cox Plate favourite.
#12 Pierro – Horse Facts
- Jockey: Corey Brown
- Trainer: Gai Waterhouse
- Owners: Mr G G Kolivos, Mrs D Kolivos
- Age: 3YO
- Gender: Gelding
- Breeding: by Lonhro (AUS) from Daylami (IRE) mare Miss Right Note (IRE)
- Career: 9-8-1-0
- Win: 88.89%
- Place: 100.00%
- Last 6: 11×112
- Prize Money: $3,334,950
- Track: 1-1-0-0
- Distance: 0-0-0-0
- Current 2012 Cox Plate Odds: $4.40
Yes – Pierro Will Win the 2012 Cox Plate
- Is a triple Group 1 winner and has won over $3 million in prize money so has class
- Well weighted as a 3YO under the WFA conditions carrying just 49.5kg meeting the likes of Green Moon (59kg) and Ocean Park (57.5kg) much better in the weights
- Outstanding strike rate of eight wins from nine starts giving him the hottest Win Rate of the field with 88.89%
- Also one of two youngsters along with stablemate #14 Proisir ($9) with a 100% place percentage
- Has won their only previous start at Moonee Valley when putting an easy five lengths on their rivals in the Group 2 Bill Stutt Stakes over the mile two back
- Is in the right barrier with gate 7 producing the most Cox Plate winners in history with 11
- The most recent Cox Plate winner to jump from barrier 7 was So You Think (2009) who was also a three-year-old at the time
No – Pierro Won’t be the Cox Plate 2012 Winner
- Had a gut busting run in the Caulfield Guineas when defeated for the first time last start, will they have had enough this time in after that?
- Face off against their last-start conqueror again here with #13 All Too Hard ($11)
- Trainer Gai Waterhouse has never won a Cox Plate
- Might not be the best of the three Waterhouse-trained runners in this with the more experienced #10 More Joyous juicy value at $12
- Last year’s Cox Plate winning jockey Craig Williams turned down the ride on the favourite in favour of #4 Green Moon $4.60
- Pierro’s new hoop on Saturday Corey Brown has never ridden a Cox Plate winner
- Has never raced over further than a mile and needs to get the 2000m
- History is against them as a 3YO with only 4 of the 62 three-year-olds to run in a Cox Plate being successful
- There has also been 21 three-year-old Cox Plate favourites – only 3 have saluted
- Last year’s Cox Plate favourite was the then 3YO Helmet who could only manage to finish eighth
- You have to go all the way back in 1984 to find the last 3YO Cox Plate favourite to win with Red Anchor (8/11)
Think Pierro has what it takes to enter the history books and win the 2012 Cox Plate? Or think there is more value laying the favourite and taking them on with a better priced rival in the Cox Plate odds?