Gai Waterhouse will provide Sydney racegoers a treat they will remember for a long time when her two super stars, three year old Pierro and multiple Group 1 winning mare More Joyous clash in the Group 1 $350,000 Canterbury Stakes (1300m) at Rosehill on Saturday.
“This will be the most mouth-watering clash we’ll have seen in years. The perfect scenario will be they dead-heat,” Waterhouse said.
Pierro is tipped to start favourite over his illustrious stablemate More Joyous, who has won this race for the last two years, but Waterhouse is reluctant to split her two stable stars saying both are going well enough to win.
“You’ve got youth against maturity,” Waterhouse said.
The weight for age Canterbury Stakes to be run at Group 1 level for the first time, has always been More Joyous’ come back run whereas Pierro was only locked in after connections decided to miss the Group 1 $550,000 Hyland Race Colours Royal Randwick Guineas (1600m) at Warwick Farm won by It’s A Dundeel on Saturday.
“More Joyous has been set for this race, she’s won this race before and is bombproof first-up,” Waterhouse said.
“After Pierro won first-up, I spoke with Greg Kolivos to discuss if we’d run in the Randwick Guineas at Warwick Farm, and he wasn’t mad about going there.”
As usual Waterhouse will lead the cheering squad and is expecting a great contest.
“I think it will be great. Both jockeys think they can win, both owners think they can win, both horses think they can win the race,” Waterhouse said.
Jim Cassidy is the lucky jockey to ride Pierro on Saturday after regular rider Nash Rawiller was committed to More Joyous after being booked for the ride when her Autumn plans were set in stone.
No other jockey knows either horse better than Rawiller.
The top Sydney jockey has ridden More Joyous twenty-five times for eighteen wins including seven at Group 1 level.
While he has partnered Pierro on ten occasions for nine wins including the Group 1 two year old Triple Crown last Autumn, the $3.5m AAMI Golden Slipper (1200m), the $500,000 Inglis Sires Produce Stakes (1400m) and the $400,000 Moet & Chandon Champagne Stakes (1600m).
The pair did clash in the Spring in the Group 1 $3m Sportingbet Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley with Pierro running a mighty race to finish third to Ocean Park and All Too Hard while More Joyous wasn’t at her best finishing in eleventh spot after having a horrid run.
“More Joyous has had a good break, and she just always seems to do better in the autumn. I don’t know what it is. We haven’t seen the best of her in the spring, which is unfortunate, but she seems happier in the autumn,” Rawiller said.
“The other bloke is pretty bombproof, and by the time he gets to her age, who knows what he could have achieved.”
Nominations for the Canterbury Stakes have been extend until eleven am on March 19 after only eleven entries were received this morning.
The original nominations included Peter Moody’s Group 1 winners Moment Of Change and Mid Summer Music and import Voila Ici, Robert Heathcote’s Group 1 Toorak Handicap winner Solzhenitsyn and Group 1 Emirates Stakes winner Happy Trails.