Pierro, Appearance, Foreteller Win at Sydney

Opening day of the Autumn Carnival featured three group I races at Rosehill Gardens.

Australian champion Pierro held back charging stablemate More Joyous to capture the $350,000 Cellarbrations Canterbury Stakes (Aus-I), one of three group I races at Rosehill Gardens March 23, opening day of the Sydney Autumn Carnival.

The 3-year-old by Darley's Central Kentucky sire Lonhro tracked from third early and uncoiled his winning move on the home turn. He overtook Rain Affair at the 200-meter mark and repelled a late challenge from eight-time group I winner More Joyous to win by three-quarters of a length in a one-two finish for trainer Gai Waterhouse.

Ridden by Jim Cassidy, Pierro was timed in 1:15.99 for the 1,300 meters (about 6 1/2 furlongs) on turf rated good.

The Canterbury marked the second group I win on the card for Cassidy, who also guided Foreteller to win the $400,000 Ranvet Stakes two races earlier.

While Australian Racing Hall of Famer Cassidy pronounced Pierro, last season's champion 2-year-old, the best horse he has ever ridden, Waterhouse had high praise for both of her Canterbury Stakes runners.

"What an outstanding, outstanding colt," she told News Limited Network about Pierro. "The way he pins those ears back, digs deep and when it gets tough, he just keeps going. He doesn't have blinding acceleration, but he has this ability to sustain a long sprint that other horses can't match.

"But nothing can be taken away from More Joyous because she did not give up, she was tenacious, and she was taking ground off Pierro."

Solzhenitsyn closed considerable ground to take third, about two lengths behind More Joyous. Group I winner Moment Of Change finished last in the 10-horse field.

The favorite, Pierro entered off a narrow victory over Rebel Dane in the Hobartville Stakes (Aus-II) March 2 at Rosehill. He earned his fourth group I victory in the Canterbury and tenth overall from 12 career starts. His record includes a win in the 2012 Golden Slipper Stakes (Aus-I), the world's richest 2-year-old race.

Bred in Australia by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum's Darley and campaigned by Greg and Donna Kolivos, Pierro is out of the Daylami mare Miss Right Note, a half sister to multiple European group I winner Laverock. He is among 38 stakes winners for Lonhro.

Sheikh Mohammed's lightly regarded Appearance prevailed in a thrilling finish in the $600,000 Coolmore Classic (Aus-I), winning by a nostril from Red Tracer with Norzita finishing third by the same margin.

The three hit the line together after Red Tracer seized the lead from pacesetter and $5 favorite Steps In Time with 150 meters to run, but an energetic Appearance surged to win the photo by a nose.

Appearance scored her second group I victory of the season and ended a three-year group I drought for jockey Blake Shinn. Earlier this season, she scored a $41 upset the Myer Classic (Aus-I) with Michael Rodd aboard at Flemington.

Sent off at $11 odds in the Coolmore Classic, Appearance covered 1,500 meters (about 7 1/2 furlongs) in 1:28.38.

"This is a very underrated mare, I don't think she has got enough credit," trainer Guy Walter told the Australian Associated Press.

"I said after the Myer Classic that she got under the radar, I didn't think she could win that day, and here we are again."

Walter also sent out 2012 Australian Oaks (Aus-I) winner Streama, who finished seventh in the 13-horse field.

By Darley's Australian-based sire Commands, who is currently second on Australia's general sire list, Appearance is out of the winning Grand Lodge mare Disguise and is a half sister to stakes winner Mascareri.

Walter said Appearance would be pointed to the $400,000 Queen Of The Turf (Aus-I) April 6 at Rosehill, with the $2 million Doncaster Mile (Aus-I), at Randwick April 20 her ultimate goal.

Appearance's win was the second triumph on the card for Walter and Shinn, who earlier teamed with Toydini to claim the Phar Lap Stakes (Aus-II).

British-bred Foreteller wore down pacesetter and 5-2 favorite Fiveandahalfstar in the closing strides to win the Ranvet Stakes.

Winner of the Victoria Derby (Aus-I) earlier this season, Fiveandahalfstar appeared poised to rebound from a runner-up finish in the Australian Cup (Aus-I) last time out March 9 at Flemington, but Foreteller collared him in the final 100 meters to win by a half-length.

Trained by Chris Waller, Foreteller was seventh in the Australian Cup following his win the Carlton Draught St. George Peter Young Stakes (Aus-II) Feb. 23 at Caulfield. He had plenty of energy in the Ranvet and sustained a strong rally under Cassidy to catch the favorite and earn his first win at the group I level.

Foreteller finished the 2,000-meter (about 1 1/4-mile) trip in 2:01.52.

Bred by Juddmonte and formerly campaigned in Europe, the 6-year-old gelding is the 12th group I winner for Juddmonte British-based Dansili and improved to nine wins from 28 career starts. He is out of English group I winner Prophesy and is a half brother to French group II winner Modern Look and English stakes winner Arabesque.

Maluckyday, runner-up to Americain in the 2010 Melbourne Cup (Aus-I), finished third, 2 3/4 lengths behind Fiveandahalfstar.