The return of Pierro at Rosehill on Saturday hasn’t scared too many off with 16 three-year-olds entered to take him on in the Hobartville Stakes.
Trainer Gary Portelli will use the race as a yardstick to determine where unbeaten colt Rebel Dane sits in the pecking order ahead of the autumn Group One races.
Rebel Dane continues to surprise Portelli with his will to win. There was no better example of that than his last gasp effort in the Group Two Royal Sovereign Stakes when he came from last on the turn to run down Urquidez.
That win has given Portelli confidence the colt can make his mark in the Hobartville despite the presence of last season’s champion two-year-old.
“I’m not saying we can beat Pierro but I am hoping we can finish close to him,” Portelli said.
“I have a lot of respect for Pierro but we have race fitness on our side and we know now he can handle a wet track after the Royal Sovereign.
“The thing is he just keeps stepping up and we don’t know exactly what we have so we just don’t know what he can do.
“He doesn’t show that much in his trackwork but on raceday he just wants to catch what is in front of him. So far he has.”
Urquidez was also among the entries taken on Monday as was Pierro’s Gai Waterhouse-trained stablemate Proisir, Spring Champion Stakes winner It’s A Dundeel, New Zealand Group One winner Sacred Falls and the promising Vadashan.
Fillies Bennetta and Longport have been nominated with the latter also entered for the Millie Fox Stakes (1300m).
The two finished on opposite sides of the ledger in the Light Fingers Stakes with Longport weakening to eighth after leading early and Bennetta storming home from near last to win.
Pierro missed a scheduled race day workout on Saturday because of the wet weather and instead galloped on the course proper at Randwick to prepare him for his first assignment since his third in the Cox Plate behind Ocean Park and All Too Hard.