The Spring Carnival jockey merry-go-round continues with Sydney jockey Corey Brown being announced as the new rider for Cox Plate favourite Pierro.
The Gai Waterhouse trained Pierro is an easing favourite in the Group 1 $3m Sportingbet Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on October 27 after suffering his first defeat when second to rival three year old All Too Hard at Caulfield last Saturday.
And Waterhouse’s other promising three year Proisir will be ridden by lightweight jockey Craig Newitt who will have no problem getting down to the 49.5kg the colt has to carry in the Cox Plate.
Stable rider Nash Rawiller has been aboard Pierro in all of his nine starts, including eight wins before getting run down by the Team Hawkes trained All Too Hard in the Group 1 $1m BECK Caulfield Guineas (1600m) at Caulfield.
“His run was unbelievable. We were always going to be vulnerable late and I could feel that. All Too Hard sat back there and did nothing and was able to have the last shot at us,” Rawiller said.
“It was a fairly credible run. We had to put him where we put him in the run, that’s where the horse needed to be and we were just found out late.”
With Rawiller unable to make the 49.5kg for the Cox Plate, Craig Williams was expected to take the ride in the weight for age championship of Australia before announcing yesterday that the Lloyd Williams owned Green Moon would be his Cox Plate mount.
“In the end I was in the position where I had the choice of two really good horses,” Williams said.
“I had to weigh up a couple of options, one was the weight.”
“I’m very, very comfortable with my decision.”
Brown shot back into the Group 1 spotlight steering Solzhenitsyn to victory in the $400,000 David Jones Toorak Handicap (1600m) at Caulfield last Saturday and immediately finds himself on the Cox Plate favourite.
The top Sydney rider hadn’t tasted Group 1 glory since Beaded took out last year’s $650,000 Carlton Mid Doomben 10,000 (1350m) at Doomben during the winner and has also found himself booked for $16 chance My Quest Of Peace in the Group 1 $2.5m BMW Caulfield Cup (2400m) at Caulfield on October 20.
Brown has commenced a Spartan diet in his quest to lower his riding weight from 52kg to 49.5kg, the lightest he will have ridden for five or six years.
Waterhouse wasn’t disappointed with Pierro’s effort when second in the Caulfield Guineas and indicated that she intends to push on with a Cox Plate start for the three year old.
”I’m disappointed, I would have loved him to win but I’m not disappointed in the horse,’ Waterhouse said.
Waterhouse’s other smart colt Proisir also got his colours lowered for the first time when run down by Kiwi three year old It’s A Dundeel in the Group 1 $400,000 Chandon Spring Champion Stakes (2000m) at Randwick on October 6 but will still take his place in the Cox Plate.
Newitt will take over the reins from Rawiller who was looking for four wins from four starts on Proisir when he shot clear in the straight only to be run down by the New Zealand three year old.
Rawiller won’t be without a Cox Plate mount and will be aboard Waterhouse’s glamour mare More Joyous who was gallant in defeat with 60kg when fourth to Solzhenitsyn in the Toorak Handicap .
“When the pace come off I was forced to go around them and sit outside the lead which she can normally overcome quite easily but it was pretty testy out there today with the big weight. I was more than happy with the run,” Rawiller said.
Pierro is holding his spot at the head of the Cox Plate markets at $3.60 just in front of Green Moon ($4.60) and Ocean Park ($5.50) with Waterhouse’s other two runners More Joyous and Proisir sharing the next line of betting with Caulfield Guineas winner All Too Hard at $10.