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Missile Stakes Paints Spring Picture

By Brad Gray
At Royal Randwick

Did the Missile Stakes provide more questions than it did answers?

Greg Hickman’s opinion of Pierata was vindicated with the four-year-old holding off the late challenge of the unlucky Kementari. They are two outstanding gallopers. That much we know. If they both ran in The Everest it’d be no shock to see them again run the quinella.

Pierata taking out the Missile Stakes

Hickman had been shouting from the Warwick Farm rooftops that Pierata is potentially the best horse he has ever trained. James McDonald was hit with a four meeting suspension for shifting in on Egyptian Symbol at the 700m but it was where he settled in the run, ahead of Kementari, that ultimately won the race.

“The ride got him there, it was a 10 out of 10. He might get a tap on the shoulder for pushing in though,” said Hickman.

“The big difference was we were fresh and not coming off a big Brisbane campaign to take on Kementari. We had the luck today and we turned the tables.

“I was going to run in this and then the Winx (Stakes) but I don’t want to bust him.”

Greg Hickman and James McDonald (Pic: Steve Hart)

Kementari, who had to push out from underneath the imposing Takedown, which saw Glyn Schofield cop a four meeting suspension of his own, ran his last 600m in 32.78s compared to Pierata’s 32.96s (about a length difference). Punters Intel further reveals most of that variance came in the last 200m with Kementari clocking 11.05s and Pierata 11.27s.

“He flashed home strongly. Once he found a run he chased hard and has come back in super order,” said Schofield about Kementari.

“We didn’t purposely fire him out because there is long way to go in his preparation. He came out with them, got into a nice enough spot and got a bit tightened after a furlong but finished his race off well.”

Then there was the fourth from Lanciato. To call it eye-catching doesn’t do it justice and trainer Mark Newnham admitted it even exceeded his expectations. Punters Intel reveals Lanciato ran his last 600m in a sizzling 32.60s, breaking 11s for four straight splits between the 1000-200m and then recording his final 200m in 11.03s.

“He was still last at the furlong,” Newnham said, “I’d say he has probably gone better than I thought he would.”

“He has come back a bit stronger. Any horse that can run the sectionals he can, especially going up in trip now he is going to be hard to beat in whatever he runs in.”

Lanciato will been seen next in the $200,000 G2 Tramway Stakes (1400m) on September 1 back at Royal Randwick before lining up in the $1m Epsom Handicap four weeks later.

The Monster bravely battled away to finish third, certainly doing his Kosciusko claims no harm. TAB reacted by shortening his Kosciusko quote from $11 into $7.

“Up on the speed really suits him,” said his hoop Tye Angland, “He can’t really outsprint these horses so had to try to run them into his ground with his fitness.”

Pierata holding off Kementari in an action-packed Missile (Pic: Steve Hart)

Kerrin McEvoy was left wondering himself what trip She Will Reign, having run sixth, is looking for this time back but the Portelli camp will let the dust settle before deciding where she heads to now.

“She’ll improve with the run. I said to Gary (Portelli) she just wants a bit more juice in the ground,” said McEvoy.

Now for where it leaves Pierata and Kementari in terms of locking down a position for The Everest.

“If the offer happens we will discuss it,” said Hickman, “It would be nice to win $13 million, but it would be nice to win an Espom and other races as well.”

James Ross from the ATC confirmed that Pierata elevated himself to be among three horses firmly in the mix for their Everest slot.

“We were down to two before today, one of those being Kementari, but Pierata now puts himself firmly in there to be one of the inner three. We’ll be pretty active in the next couple of weeks,” said Ross, who kept his cards close to his chest regarding who the third horse was.

The jockey quotes from those not heard from above:

James McDonald (Pierata) – “All he wants to do is please you. He’s a pretty good horse that only does what he has to. He has got great acceleration, he moves like a dream. I wouldn’t want it over again, hitting the lead at the furlong, that was a bit of a mistake. As a racehorse, he ticks all the boxes.”

Rachel King (Lanciato) – "It was an unbelievable run. He wasn’t quite ready today but second up he’ll be extremely hard to beat.”

Hugh Bowman (Music Magnate) – "He was disappointing today."

Tim Clark (Takedown) – “He had a tough trip and battled away. He’ll improve with the run.”

Andrew Adkins (Boss Lane) – “It was a big run. We rode him a little bit quieter to give him the chance to get onto the rail again and he really found the line when I asked him.”

Tommy Berry (Showcase) – “He settled well early until Takedown outside of him fired him up. He is still a bit on and off the bridle but there is plenty of upside there.”

Jason Collett (Egyptian Symbol) – "She copped a fair bit of interference."

Check out all the results and replays for Royal Randwick on Saturday.

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