By Glenn Davis
Warwick Farm trainer Greg Hickman will adopt a radical measure to help Pierata overcome the heat in the Group 3 Vo Rogue Plate at Doomben on Saturday.
Pierata will wear “iced” ear muffs on the way to the barrier in the 1400-metre feature to help the colt beat the expected Brisbane humidity.
Pierata, barrier 13, must win the Vo Rogue to keep his hopes alive in the Summer Crown bonus series for three-year-olds during the summer carnival.
A $500,000 bonus is up for grabs if one horse wins three of the five-race series which culminates in the $1 million Magic Millions Guineas (1400m) at the Gold Coast on January 13.
Pierata, a son of former glamour sprinter Pierro, won the first leg in the Winning Rupert Stakes at Doomben on December 2.
He then raced without blinkers when runner-up to local sprinter Whypeeo in the Listed Gold Edition Stakes at Doomben on December 16.
“I don’t want to put blinkers on him again as they might wind him up too much,” Hickman said.
“So, I’m putting ear muffs on him to go around to the barrier this time.
“It’ll be a hot day and I’ll put his ear muffs in iced water to keep them cold so he’ll be nice and fresh.
“I did the same the day Private Secretary won up there last summer.”
Hickman was delighted with Pierata’s run in the Gold Edition and is confident he’ll be back on track for the lucrative bonus prizemoney in the Magic Millions Guineas.
Hickman has been able to keep Pierata up to the mark ahead of his Vo Rogue Plate assignment after initially taking more time than expected to recover from the Gold Edition Stakes run.
“He took a while to get over his run in the Gold Edition but he’s fine now,” he said.
Pierata stamped his qualities in Brisbane last winter when placed on a heavy track in the Group 2 Sires’ Produce Stakes at Eagle Farm before finishing midfield behind Capital Gain in the Group 1 J J Atkins (1600m) at Doomben.
“He was badly stripped behind in the Sires which was a great run and he had a bad alley and got into trouble a few times in the J J Atkins,” Hickman said.
Racing Queensland webnews December 17