If Pierata can halt Kementari’s winning streak in the Randwick Guineas, a long-range plan will reach fruition for trainer Greg Hickman.
Pierata came to prominence with his three wins in Queensland during the summer including the Magic Millions Guineas at the Gold Coast but it was his previous trip north that sowed the seed for success at Randwick.
Hickman’s first Randwick Guineas runner was set for Saturday’s Group One feature last June when he lined up in the Group One J J Atkins Stakes (1600m) at Doomben.
At face value it was hardly a successful experience as he finished seventh, but he was just two lengths off the winner Capital Gain.
For the Warwick Farm trainer, testing Pierata over the distance was a means to an end.
“The Guineas has always been in the back of our mind so we gave him a run over a mile in Queensland, just to show him what was going on,” Hickman said.
“I thought the run was as good as any. He got knocked about. He got galloped on and he still hit the line very strongly.”
Kementari is also adept over the distance having finished runner-up in the Group One Caulfield Guineas in the spring and although the Godolphin star is the dominant favourite to go three-from-three this preparation, Hickman is not conceding defeat.
Pierata was a length off Kementari when second in the Group Two Hobartville Stakes (1400m) on February 24 and Hickman said the gap could be closed.
“I just think the 1600 will suit us and we should get a lovely run from barrier one, probably a similar run to what we got in the Magic Millions,” Hickman said.
Kementari has history on his side with seven of the past eight Randwick Guineas winners claiming the Hobartville Stakes en route to Group One glory.
The Chris Waller stable is confident D’Argento can improve on his third in the Hobartville Stakes despite copping the outside gate in the 14-horse field.
“The extra distance will suit and he won his maiden on a soft so we should handle the track fine,” Waller’s racing manager Charlie Duckworth said.