Derby Dreams for New Pierro Stakes-Winner
Second behind Autocratic when making his career debut at Newcastle on May 5, the Mark Newnham-trained gelding Shadow Hero (3g Pierro x Sookie, by Casino Prince) left that galloper in his wake with a hard-fought win in the Listed BRC Mitavite The Phoenix (1630m) at Doomben on Saturday.
Given a ground-saving ride by Blake Shinn, the son of Pierro found a narrow seam at the 200 metres to dive through and snatch a half neck win at his second start.
Shinn said the inexperienced son of Pierro needed to overcome difficulties in the straight.
"Getting back as far as I did wasn't the plan, but the way the race was run it forced my hand to stick to the rail I was never going to try to circle them," Shinn said.
"The horse did what it needed to do to win the race and showed a bit of class in a muddling run affair, he picked up quickly when a run presented.
"If he gets in the J.J. Atkins field he wouldn't be without a chance."
Winning trainer Mark Newnham wouldn't commit to running in next weeks Group I.
"He'll appreciate the bigger track at Eagle Farm but I won't be pushing him into next week (Group 1 J.J. Atkins 1600m)," Newnham said.
"If he gets through this well the option is there, but if he's showing signs he's had enough we'll get him ready for The Victoria Derby.
"The risk was him getting back off a moderate pace from barrier one, but when you got jockeys like Blake Shinn it makes you breathe a bit easier, he made all the right decisions and the horse was good enough to take advantage of them.
"I always thought he would make a really nice horse, he's doing it probably sooner than I thought he'll be doing his best work as a three-year-old."
Purchased by Sweetbriar Equine for $260,000 out of the Newgate Farm draft at the 2018 Inglis Classic Yearling Sale, Shadow Hero was bred by Greg and Donna Kolivos, who raced his sire Pierro.
He is the second foal and second winner out of Group III winner Sookie, a grand-daughter of Champion 2YO Filly Victory Vein by Casino Prince. Sookie has a has a weanling filly by Pierro to follow and was not covered last spring.
Shadow Hero becomes the 17th stakes-winner for Pierro, who will stand at a fee of $88,000 in 2019.