Pierro A Gift That Keeps On Giving For Newnham

Trainer Mark Newnham and connections celebrate Shadow Hero’s win (Lisa Grimm)


A special bond between horse and rider that delivered a Golden Slipper win among five Group One victories is poised to grow even stronger before the spring carnival is over.

When Pierro claimed the 2012 Golden Slipper it was champion jockey Nash Rawiller who received all the plaudits for his ride on the uber-talented colt.

Behind the scenes at trainer Gai Waterhouse’s Tulloch Lodge, Mark Newnham was also lauded for his involvement in the victory.

Newnham, then jockey in his own right who plied his trade on the NSW provincial circuit, was Pierro’s trackwork rider.

He knew the son of Lonhro better than anyone and wouldn’t hear of defeat in the Golden Slipper after the colt’s final piece of work before the race.

Seven years after that Slipper triumph, Newnham’s intimate knowledge of what made Pierro tick is still paying dividends.

Just as Pierro has moved on to become a stallion on the move, Newnham has also figured in a role change.

He is fast becoming a force in Sydney’s training ranks after going out on his own three years ago.

Newnham has already trained two Group One winners and Shadow Hero, a son of Pierro, is tipped to be his next.

Shadow Hero underlined his obvious staying potential with a second-up win in the Group Three Gloaming Stakes over 1800m at Rosehill.

The win was so convincing it propelled the three-year-old to the top of betting charts for the $2 million Victoria Derby over 2500m at Flemington on November 2.

He is also the favourite for the Spring Champion Stakes over 2000m at Randwick on Saturday week, a race that has particular significance for Newnham.

He trained Maid Of Heaven for his first Group One success in last year’s race.

After his 3-1/4 length Gloaming win, Shadow Hero seems to be well ahead of schedule to emulate his former stablemate.

“That surprised me, the ease of it but I thought he was the best horse in the race,” Newnham said.

“That’s what I hoped he was, that’s what we thought he was and he’s confirmed it.”

Newnham says Shadow Hero has such a brilliant attitude and approach to training and stable life that he reminds of Pierro.

“His demeanour will take him a long way. He’s so relaxed everywhere,” he said.

“I think Josh (Parr) was a little worried when he rode him work on Tuesday. He was a bit too relaxed for him.

“I said ‘don’t worry, we haven’t put the blinkers on him yet’. He’s a bit like Pierro in that sense, you put the blinkers on and he turns into a superhero.”

Shadow Hero cost $260,000 at the Inglis Classic Yearling Sale from the Newgate Farm draft on behalf of breeders Greg and Donna Kolivos who raced Pierro.

His dam is Sookie, a Casino Prince mare who scored at Group Three level in Brisbane among four victories.

Sookie is a grand-daughter of Victory Vein, a champion two-year-old filly of her year.

Shadow Hero is her second foal and second winner and while she was not covered last year, in good news for the Kolivos’s, Sookie has a yearling filly by Pierro to follow.

Pierro’s oldest crop are five-year-olds and the Coolmore stallion is coming into his own as a sire of great versatility.

He has already sired two Classic winners in Levendi and Pinot, successful in the ATC Australian Derby and VRC Oaks respectively.

But in what is shaping as a breakout season for Pierro, he also has two of the leading lights for the world’s richest race on turf, the $14 million Everest over 1200m at Randwick on October 19.

His son Pierata stormed to Everest favouritism with a lead-up win in the Group Two Shorts at Randwick on September 21.

That followed the winning return to racing of his daughter Arcadia Queen at her eastern states debut in the Group Two Theo Marks Stakes over 1300m a week earlier.

Pierro has taken the Kolivos family on a journey that they could have only dreamed about.

“At the time we were just involved in the industry on a hobby and leisure basis racing horses,” Greg said.

“We just enjoyed that for a few years but I guess when Pierro went to stud we sat down and started looking seriously at the breeding side of things.”

They engaged the services of James Harron to provide bloodstock advice and Sookie became one of their first purchases as they sourced foundation mares for Pierro.

Out of that initial investment, the breeding enterprise Lightning Thoroughbreds was founded.

“To be involved in the breeding industry and have a horse like Shadow Hero come along is unbelievable,” Greg said.

“Because of Mark’s association with Pierro we are thrilled and we actually have a couple of Pierros in his stable.

“I have spoken to a couple of trainers and they love having them.

“They train on and they are versatile horses, probably what you ask for really.

“Just like him, they pin the ears back and have a go.”

Shadow Hero’s sister has been entered for next year’s yearling sales but she may be retained under Lightning Thoroughbreds banner.

“We are certainly working through that at the moment and it’s something we’ll probably sort out further in coming weeks,” Greg said.

While Shadow Hero prepares for a date with Group One destiny in the Spring Champion Stakes, the Kolivos team still has much to look forward to this weekend.

A two-year-old half-sister to Shadow Hero by Not A Single Doubt called Lady Grazier is expected to make her debut for trainer Tony Gollan at Eagle Farm on Saturday.

The Power of Passion