Group One-winning Kiwi galloper Pinarello has received a ringing endorsement from leading Sydney jockey Sam Clipperton ahead of Saturday’s Gr.3 Craven Plate (1800m) at Randwick.
Gr.1 Queensland Derby (2400m) winner Pinarello has bounced through his first-up run for eighth in last month’s Gr.2 Shannon Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill, with Cambridge trainer Roger James not the only one thrilled with his progression since.
Clipperton, who was aboard for the Shannon Stakes, galloped Pinarello at Randwick on Tuesday and was glowing in his praise of the Tavistock four-year-old’s condition.
“Sam got off him and said ‘Roger, you couldn’t have him any better. That was super work’,” said James, who trains in partnership with Robert Wellwood.
“He (Pinarello) took a few days to settle in here which surprised me, having been to Brisbane in the winter, but he’s certainly been better a week after his last run than the week before and he’s continued to treat the place like home ever since.
“He’s settled into a wonderful routine. I’ve been over here for a month with him now and we’ve become pretty close. He’s in really good order.”
Pinarello wasn’t favoured by the way the Shannon Stakes was run but James was rapt with his performance.
“It was a good run,” he said. “Over 1500m, he was always going to get back off the speed and in a sit-sprint affair, his sectionals were as good as any in the race. I just hope that over 1800m on Saturday it will be a differently-run race.
“He was pretty ready for his first-up run and he was last to pull up on the day. He just carried on after the line. He’s ready again; he’s an easy horse to keep ready. I don’t have to do a lot of fast work with him. It’s just been maintenance work with him really.”
James has the Brendan and Jo Lindsay-bred and raced Pinarello stabled at Randwick, where the Craven Plate is on the undercard of the A$15 million The Everest (1200m) on Saturday.
The prospect of heavy track conditions doesn’t please James but he is expecting another bold run from Pinarello as he builds to his target race, the A$750,000 Rosehill Gold Cup (2000m) on October 29.
“It was always going to be, and it sounds bad as a trainer to admit it, but this is the worst placing of the three races, in that it’s weight-for-age. He goes back to a lovely race next start (Rosehill Gold Cup at handicap conditions),” James said.
“Cascadian will be the one to beat. He won the Hill Stakes (Gr.2, 2000m) last start and he handles these types of conditions. But if Pinarello gets luck in running, I’ll be surprised if they don’t know he’s there.”
James will put his faith in Pinarello’s fighting spirit on Saturday, knowing the four-year-old has vast reserves of courage.
“I learned a lot about him at three,” he said. “He went into the Queensland Derby five weeks between runs and just toughed it out to the last inch of the race. That’s the sort of horse he is and it’s a wonderful way to be.” – NZ Racing Desk