“We used to play around his stable, and then Greg was was one of the first people to support me as a kid riding and he is still here now with a good horse,” Berry said. “I’m going to ride a lot of nice horses in the future, but this is Greg’s chance, and I want to get it done for him.
“Mum and Dad have worked in the stable for a while and that makes it even more special, because I know what sort of buzz this horse creates around the stable.”
Pierata missed a start in the Everest in the spring but stamped himself as a group 1 winner in waiting by winning the Sydney Stakes on the same day.
He was twice been placed in group 1 company since, firstly when third in the VRC Sprint in the spring and then the narrowest of defeats in The Galaxy behind Nature Strip last start.
“I thought he had won,” Hickman said. “We really want to get that group 1 with him, and this is one of the big ones.
“We were in second grade for a group 1 last time and this is first grade. Look at the field – it is all the best sprinters in the country.
“I’m very happy with the way he has come on since that last run, and this is the day we wanted to be at our peak, and we are.
“We will need to be at out best.”
Pierata is on the third line of betting at Beteasy, where a number of good bets have seen him shorten to $6 behind Canterbury Stakes winner Trapeze Artist ($4.20 fav) and Osborne Bulls ($4.60).
“He has had the perfect preparation for this race,” Berry said. “It would special to do this for Greg and also for the connections, who could have sold this horse on a number of occasions but kept hold of him hoping for a group 1.
“He was good first-up in the Canterbury Stakes when they went slow and he couldn’t get into the race, and back to 1100m last time they were a bit sharp for him early but you saw what a turn of foot he has late.
“You have to remember he is unbeaten at Randwick over 1200m, and I think third up he will be flying.
“There is plenty of speed in the race, and I felt like the stars are aligning.”
Godolphin will look to win a group 1 three weeks in a row, with Osborne Bulls its best of a raft of chances for the afternoon.
The Everest placegetter has put the writing on the wall by charging into second in the Lightning Stakes and the Newmarket Handicap, and trainer James Cummings believes he will enjoy getting to Randwick.
“Osborne Bulls has been quietly burning along since his storming effort to grab second in the Newmarket,” Cummings said. “He was OK last week in a quiet trial, but it will be interesting to see him back at Randwick for the first time since he ran third in The Everest.
“He will have the highest calibre of sprinters from all over the land in his sights, so we’re looking forward to seeing him produce that lethal finish.”
Racing writer for The Sydney Morning Herald