Pier with Australian Group 1’s on agenda

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Darryn Weatherley is eyeing an Australian spring raid with a couple of his stable's leading lights, including Group One winner Pier.

The son of Proisir had a pleasing three-year-old season in his homeland, winning three and placing in two of his five starts, including victories in the New Zealand (1600m) and Group 2 Hawke's Bay Guineas (1400m).

He was proving to be an exciting prospect for Sydney's Autumn , however, his Australian campaign was curtailed by injury following his eighth placed run in the Group 2 Hobartville Stakes (1400m) in February.

Weatherley has been pleased with the way Pier has returned to his stable following a lengthy spell and he is eyeing a potential return to Australia in spring with his gelding.

“Pier is back in work. He had his first bit of three-quarter pace this morning along with ,” said Weatherley, who trains in partnership with his daughter Briar.

“He has been off the scene for some time with his broken pedal bone. It is just nice to have him back and we will take one day at a time with him.

“We may head to Melbourne with Pier and Mali Ston and look at running in the Foxbridge (Group 2, 1200m) or something like that with Pier (as a lead-in race).”

Weatherley said he has been impressed with the way Pier has developed during his spell.

“He is a bigger horse,” he said. “When he raced at he was 464 kilos and when I put him on the scales the other day at he was 518kg.

“That is a big difference, and he has improved a lot with the break.

“He is looking well and working well, so we are looking forward to getting him back for the spring.”

The pair could be joined in Australia by stablemate Ess Vee Are, who finished his season on a high when winning the Listed New Zealand St Leger (2600m) at Trentham in March.

“He was very consistent the whole way through and never ran a bad race. I think he won three for us, including the St Leger at his last start,” Weatherley said.

“He has just come back into work and is going through his early stages. We are looking forward to the spring and we will decide whether he will go to Melbourne or he stays here and targets races like the New Zealand Cup (Group 3, 3200m), (Group 3, 3200m), and Auckland Cup (Group 2, 3200m), which he will be very competitive in.”

Weatherley is also looking forward to the return of stakes winner Maria Farina and Group Three winner Arby to his barn in the new season.

“Maria Farina had quite a long campaign,” Weatherley said. “She was waiting for the tracks to come right as she is only a firm track horse.

“She is having a well-deserved break and will come back in early August.

“Arby is out spelling and will come back at the same time. He had a big campaign down the line. He went to Wellington twice and also went to Palmy and went over for the .”

Meanwhile, Weatherley has welcomed the addition of half a dozen horses to his stable from owner Garry Harding, including Group One performer Tulsi.

Formerly trained by Johno Benner and , the two-year-old daughter of The Autumn Sun was runner-up in the Group 1 Sistema Stakes (1200m) at just her second start before finishing midfield in the Group 1 Manawatu Sires' Produce Stakes (1400m).

“We have got six for Garry and they are all nice horses. They have been well-educated, well-bred and they look good, so here's hoping we get some good results for him,” Weatherley said.

“Tulsi obviously went well in the Sistema Stakes and Sires' Produce, so we are looking forward to the fillies series with her. We might kick-off at Taupo and all going well she'll head down to the fillies race (Group 3 Gold Trail Stakes, 1200m) at .”

Reflecting on the past season, Weatherley was rapt with the way his team has performed, posting 16 wins, five of those at stakes level, giving him his best season to date.
“It is quite an achievement for a little team,” he said.

“We have only got 15 horses in work. I am very proud of the team and hopefully we can back it up and do it again next season.”

Weatherley said he was proud to have achieved the results alongside his daughter Briar, who joined him in training partnership last year.

“She is going really well,” he said.

“When campaigning horses in Australia it is good having a training partner that can overlook things back home. It is a big help and it is working well.”

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