Racing: Top jockey offered Cox Plate mount

Photo / Sarah Ivey
Photo / Sarah Ivey

Top jockey Craig Williams has emerged as Gai Waterhouse's first choice to partner Pierro in the Cox Plate in which the star colt will carry just 49.5kg.

Waterhouse put many of her spring hopefuls, including More Joyous, through their paces in barrier trials at Randwick on Monday but elected to keep Pierro at home with an exhibition gallop scheduled for Saturday.

She said the colt was in peak condition ahead of his campaign aimed at October's A$3 million Cox Plate.

"We're hoping to get Craig Williams," Waterhouse said.

Unbeaten in six starts as a 2-year-old, including the coveted group one triple crown, Pierro has the Caulfield Guineas and Cox Plate as his two spring objectives.

Waterhouse said only a handful of jockeys were capable of riding at the weight, including Williams, who won the race last year on the ill-fated mare Pinker Pinker.

She said she did not think it was necessary for Pierro to have a barrier trial. "I may not trial him," Waterhouse said on Monday.

"I was talking with [owner] Greg Kolivos this morning. I will give him an exhibition gallop on Saturday. I may then trial him next week or give him a couple of exhibition gallops and then go straight into the Run To The Rose.

"He's sensational. He's the best 3-year-old in Australia by so far it's not funny."

The group three Run To The Rose (1200m) on September 1 is two weeks be15-08-2012 05:29:00fore the Golden Rose (1400m) and Waterhouse said that race was still on the agenda for Pierro but was not a primary focus.

"It's on the agenda, using it as a stepping stone to where I want to go. I want to take him to the Guineas and I want to take him to the Cox Plate," Waterhouse said. "They are the two aims."

Pierro won the Breeders Plate in October last year and then returned in the autumn to win the Silver Slipper and Todman Stakes before claiming group ones in the Golden Slipper, Sires' Produce Stakes and Champagne Stakes.

Usual jockey Nash Rawiller will be aboard More Joyous in the Cox Plate.

- AAP

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