CONNECTIONS of Australian-bred galloper Gimmethegreenlight have every intention of accepting an offer to contest the Breeders’ Cup in 2012 after the South African owned colt won the Grade 1 Queens Plate at Kenilworth on Saturday.
Gimmethegreenlight (3c More Than Ready – Yes She Can Cancan by Canny Lad) turned the tables on Variety Club in a thrilling finish to South Africa’s premier summer event. The Australian bred colt had been an unlucky fourth to Variety Club (Var) the last time they met in the G1 Cape Guineas on December 17.
Gimmethegreenlight, who is a More Than Ready half brother to Ron Quinton’s stakeswining mare Ofcourseican (by Mossman), came with a sustained burst at the end of last weekend’s 1600m feature to win his fifth race from inside 10 starts.
“Gimmethegreenlight has always had the class to win a Grade 1 but he was repeatedly slow out of the gates. That normally means a back problem so we worked on it and that made the difference,” winning trainer Justin Snaith told Racing Post.
“Our priority is now to be able to accept that Breeders’ Cup invitation. It’s fantastic to think that the Americans want to see our horses race over there.”
More Than Ready has become something of a Breeders’ Cup specialist sire in recent years having provided the winners of both Juvenile divisions in 2010 (Pluck and More Than Real) as well as Regally Ready who won the Vinery colours to victory in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint at last years meet before his invitation to Hong Kong thia year.
Whilst sold by Vinery, Raheen Stud’s Nolan family were also celebrating on Saturday night after the Group 1 victory of Gimmethegreenlight in the Queens Plate (1600m) at Kenilworth.
He cost $155,000 from the Vinery draft as a foal at the 2009 Magic Millions National Weanling Sale.
Gimmethegreenlight is the latest Group 1 winner for Vinery champion More Than Ready and the victory was also timely for Raheen Stud in advance of the Gold Coast Magic Millions.
Raheen studmaster Basil Nolan jnr has two close relations to the Queens Plate winner catalogued for the Magic Millions and trainer Justin Snaith has been keeping him posted with the colt’s progress in recent weeks.
“He’s flying and could be the surprise packet in the Queens Plate,” Snaith said in an email to Nolan on Wednesday. “I feel he could be a contender despite the fact he’s still only a three year-old.
“There’s not much between him and our Group 1 mare Ebony Flyer. She has a win over Horse of the Year Igugu and will probably be the favourite for the race. But, regardless of the result, Gimmethegreenlight will have a well deserved rest and will be much stronger when he returns from a spell.”
Snaith’s prediction proved spot on when the three year-olds dominated their older rivals at Kenilworth. He has always rated Gimmethegreenlight highly and the colt responded with four wins in his first four starts in Cape Town and Durban.
Due to a combination of wide barriers and slow getaways, the unbeaten run came to an end in the G1 Golden Horseshoe and G1 Premier’s Champion Stake during Durban’s winter carnival but Snaith wasn’t discouraged.
“Gimmethegreenlight came back this season and was flying at the finish in the Guineas,” Snaith explained. “He came out of the race well but there weren’t any other options for him except the Queens Plate.
“I could have put him in the Cape Flying Championship but didn’t want to bring him back to 1000 metres. It was a choice of leaving him in his box or running for a million rand and glory.”