The bettors got it right in Saturday’s Bowermans Office Furniture The Shorts (G2) at Randwick in Australia. After a thrilling stretch run, narrow favorite Pierata edged Classique Legend and Redzel in a race that saw the five starters finish in order of their odds.
The Shorts, a 1,100-meter sprint, serves as a major steppingstone toward the $14 million The Everest on October 19 at Randwick. With this in mind, it would have been no surprise to see two-time defending The Everest winner Redzel start as favorite in The Shorts, especially since he edged Pierata by a head in the 1,000-meter Forum Concorde Stakes (G3) at Randwick two weeks ago.
But the marginally longer distance of The Shorts made all the difference for the late-charging Pierata, whom bettors wisely established as the favorite. With Tommy Berry in the saddle for trainer Gregory Hickman, Pierata settled in fourth place early on as Redzel carved out the pace, but in the homestretch Pierata shifted out for clear running and rallied smoothly into contention.
With just 100 meters left to run, Redzel still clung to a narrow advantage, but Pierata had all the momentum and forged clear in the final strides to prevail by a half-length in 1:03.79. Classique Legend gamely fought his way between runners down the lane to edge Redzel by a neck for second place.
The complexion of The Shorts changed significantly in the 24 hours preceding the race. Expected favorite and major The Everest contender Santa Ana Lane withdrew due to the rain-soaked, “soft” condition of the course, and he was joined on the sidelines by In Her Time, Jonker, Osborne Bulls, Sunlight and Viridine, which cut the field from 11 starters down to five.
Prior to the running of The Shorts, Santa Ana Lane had been favored to prevail in The Everest. But Pierata’s impressive triumph has shifted public sentiment, and the son of Pierro is now the slight choice to prevail at Randwick four weeks from now.
Owned by a partnership that includes Hickman, Pierata brought his career record to 21-8-6-2. The improving five-year-old won the 1,400-meter Schweppes All Aged Stakes (G1) at Randwick back in April and should find the 1,200-meter distance of The Everest to be right in his comfort zone.
Classique Legend and Redzel are expected to join Pierata for a rematch in The Everest.