IN Racing
Pier weathers storm to make pleasing return
Group One winner Pier made a pleasing return at the Te Rapa trials on Tuesday, comfortably winning his star-studded 900m heat on the Heavy9 surface.
Joshua Smith, LOVERACING.NZ News Desk | August 02, 2023
Photo: Trish Dunell

Group One winner Pier made a pleasing return at the Te Rapa trials on Tuesday, comfortably winning his star-studded 900m heat on the Heavy9 surface.

The son of Proisir had a standout three-year-old season, winning three and placing in two of his five starts in New Zealand, including victories in the Gr.1 New Zealand 2000 Guineas (1600m) and Gr.2 Hawke’s Bay Guineas (1400m), before injury curtailed his Australian autumn campaign when finishing eighth in the Gr.2 Hobartville Stakes (1400m).

Darryn Weatherley, who co-bred, co-owns and co-trains the gelding, has taken a patient approach with his return and was pleased to see his charge return in style on Tuesday.

“He trialled up really well and Sam (Weatherley, jockey) was happy with him. It was a nice gallop,” said Weatherley, who trains in partnership with his daughter Briar.

“He jumped well, which was a concern of ours because he jumped slow at Sydney and pulled a muscle in doing so.

“He seemed to work well and was free in his action. He has fully recovered and has come back bigger and stronger. We are really happy and there are some exciting times ahead.”

Weatherley now has the enviable decision of selecting what path to take with the four-year-old this spring, with the Matamata trainer feeling there is some unfinished business across the Tasman with his gelding.

“I haven’t really got any concrete plans. Do we stay here and run in the Foxbridge (Gr.2, 1200m) or go straight to Melbourne and run in a race like the Memsie (Gr.1, 1400m)? I haven’t decided as yet,” he said.

“However, I wouldn’t mind running in a couple of races here and then doing a hit-and-run on something like the Golden Eagle (A$10 million, 1500m) or King Charles (Gr.1, 1600m) in Sydney.

“There are plenty of options for him, but track conditions could play a part too. If you are running around on Heavy10s it could bottom them out pretty quick.

“I have just got to go home and do some homework.”

Stablemate Mali Ston also made his return from injury and Weatherley was pleased with the six-year-old’s hit-out over 900m.

“We are lucky to have him. He broke his pedal bone and it was touch and go whether he would survive, so we are really pleased to get him back this far,” he said.

“He may have another trial at Avondale in a couple of weeks and he wouldn’t be out of a race like the Foxbridge either. It will probably be a bit short for him, but then he can head down to Hawke’s Bay if he keeps ticking all the boxes.”

Weatherley was also impressed with Group One performer Tulsi’s first public hit-out for the stable when winning her 900m heat on Tuesday.

“She doesn’t really do a lot in trackwork so she is a bit hard to get a line on, but she trialled up nice,” Weatherley said.

“Michael McNab (jockey) was very happy with the way she felt. She will now probably head to Taupo in a few weeks time for a three-year-old 1100m race and then onto the Gold Trail Stakes (Gr.3, 1200m) at Hastings.”

Weatherley is hoping a big spring is also instore for last start stakes winner Ess Vee Are, who pleased in his 1100m pipe-opener.

“He worked really well to the line. Sam said he trialled as well as any of them,” Weatherley said.

“We may run him here (Te Rapa) in a couple of weeks in an open mile. He won’t win that, he will get back and hopefully he is running on.

“If he comes through that well then we are really considering a Melbourne campaign with him."

Briar Weatherley Darryn Weatherley Ess Vee Are Mali Ston Pier Sam Weatherley Tulsi