MORE Than Ready’s reputation as the world’s number one source of superior two-year-olds has often overshadowed his ability to deliver classic horses.
The Vinery resident has a chance to remind people of his talents when Kiwi ace More Than Sacred strives to become the first filly to win the New Zealand Oaks/Australian Oaks double since the great Domino in 1990.
At the same time, WA’s undisputed champion 3YO filly Moreish is aiming to emulate Dreamaway’s 2011 Oaks/Derby double at Ascot in Perth.
Moreish has already been able to match Dreamaway’s previous wins in the 1000 Guineas and Natasha Stakes on her way to her Oaks glory at Ascot on March 26.
Remarkably, Moreish, Dreamaway and More Than Sacred are all bred on the More Than Ready/Danehill nick which has delivered well over 50 winners; VRC Victoria Derby winner Benicio among them.
Despite what a More Than Sacred and/or Moreish win would do for More Than Ready, his supporters would trade it all for a Kentucky Derby triumph by America’s most talked about racehorse, Verrazano.
Trained by More Than Ready’s own former conditioner Todd Pletcher, Verrazano maintains a firm grip on pre-post betting for the Kentucky Derby run, as always, at Churchill Downs on the first Saturday in May.
Verrazano has won all four of his starts including his first two by margins of 7 3/4-lens and 16 1/4-lens before adding the Grade 1 Wood Memorial Stakes to his Tampa Bay Derby victory.
“He was already possibly the favourite,” Pletcher told US racing writer Jennie Rees this week.
“When the horse (Java’s War) that was second to him in the Tampa Bay Derby comes back and wins the Blue Grass, that solidifies his form and solidifies him as the favourite, in my eyes.”
Should Verrazano win the Derby, he will be the first horse to do it while unbeaten since Vinery Stud/Three Chimney’s shuttler Big Brown who is due back in Australia this season.
“For a horse this far along in a campaign, (Verrazano) is carrying tremendous condition,” Pletcher said.
“His coat, his weight, everything has really held up. That’s an advantage when you have one that maintains that kind of condition and you can train and do with him whatever you want.”
There is a strong probability that Verrazano will one day be available to Australian breeders.
He is part-owned by Coolmore who bought into the colt after he won his second race start by over 16-lens at Gulfstream Park in Florida in February.