TJ Smith Stakes Tips - Pierata to claim Group 1 sprint

  • Pierata in career best form.
Tommy Berry rides Pierata to win the Sydney Stakes at Royal Randwick (PA Images)

Warwick Farm-based horseman Gregory Hickman really has a great horse on his hands in the form of Pierata – and he’s the one to beat in Saturday’s Group 1 TJ Smith Stakes (1200m).

He was 2nd to Kementari in the Randwick Guineas (1600m) as a three-year-old and then finished three lengths from Hartnell in the Epsom Handicap (1600m) – but I don’t think he’s a miler. 

His efforts over shorter trip rate much higher, and 1200m seems to be spot on for him. 

In October last year, he won the Group 3 Sydney Stakes (1200m) in 1:10.82 on a Heavy 9, yet in the following event that day, Redzel won the $13 million The Everest in 1:12.03.

You could argue it was just tempo related, but the figures don’t lie.

Having run 4.9 lengths below benchmark to the 600m, Pierata came home a whopping 9.1 lengths above benchmark when clocking 34.92 and 11.84 for his 600m and 200m sectionals and producing an overall benchmark figure of -4.2.

In comparison, Redzel went a length above BM to the 600m and from the 600 to return a figure of -1.9 while running his sectionals in 36.60 and 12.64.

Osbourne Bulls flashed home down the outside and caught the eye, but he ran his first 600m in near identical time to Pierata yet only came home 3.7 lengths above BM as opposed to Pierata’s 9.1.

Osbourne Bulls is airborne this campaign and he rates a strong chance having flashed home in the Newmarket Handicap (1200m) to finish 2nd behind Sunlight who has franked the form with a win in the William Reid Stakes (1200m) at The Valley. 

Sunlight also lines up on Saturday but I don’t think she’s as effective on rain-affected ground, and unlike the William Reid where she sped out to lead without any early speed to her inside, there is more pace here and she may find it much tougher from the outside gate (11) in this event. 

But back to Pierata who also seems to have gone to a new level this campaign. 

He finished 4.5 lengths from Trapeze Artist in a barrier trial, and after that trial, I was convinced he couldn’t beat Trapeze Artist in the Canterbury Stakes (1300m) first-up when Trapeze Artist had a clear fitness advantage. 

To get within 2.7 lengths of Trapeze Artist in record time was well above how I thought Pierata would perform.

He then then came out and was beaten a whisker by Nature Strip in The Galaxy (1100m) and ran a PB when going 4.3 lengths above BM. 

Everything Pierata has done this preparation has been geared towards the TJ Smith Stakes, and with improvement to come from his last run, as well as his quicker time than The Everest previously, he can remain undefeated at Randwick and make it four from four. 

As an added bonus, Tommy Berry retains the ride and knows the horse extremely well, and Berry has won three of the past four TJs aboard Chautauqua. 


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TJ Smith Stakes Tips - Pierata to claim Group 1 sprint

Warwick Farm-based horseman Gregory Hickman really has a great horse on his hands in the form of Pierata – and he’s the one to beat in Saturday’s Group 1 TJ Smith Stakes (1200m).

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