Sheikh Mohammed’s ground-breaking season lifted to another level when Exhilarates produced a superb performance in the $2 million Magic Millions 2YO Classic (1200m) on Saturday.
Exhilarates let down with a serious turn of foot to nail Dubious who was being hailed the winner at the furlong. The Vinery-bred graduate arrived centre-stage on the Gold Coast just two months after Cross Counter (GB) delivered a Melbourne Cup first for Sheikh Mohammed and trainer James Cummings.
She cost $600,000 from Vinery across the road at the 2018 Magic Millions Sale. “This is only the start,” Cummings said. “We’re thrilled to be involved in Australian racing and supporting Australian breeders.”
Exhilarates could be something special. The Snitzel filly owns a special pedigree being the first named foal from More Than Ready’s Group 1 mare Samaready. She won the 2012 Blue Diamond Stakes and returned a year later sporting Vinery’s silks to beat Buffering in the Moir Stakes.
Samaready is one of 24 Group 1 winners by More Than Ready and there have also been Magic Millions strikes with Phelan Ready and Augusta Proud. Exhilarates has trimmed into an $8 second-favourite to join Phelan Ready on the Golden Slipper Gr.1 roll-call at Rosehill in March.
More Than Ready finished Book 1 of the Magic Millions Sale with an average of $213,571. That’s commensurate with the quality among his 21 yearlings that changed hands through to the evening session on Saturday.
His Day 1 filly from Passion Cheval (Lot 5) was sold to Team Hawkes for $400,000. “Dad said, ‘I want her’,” Wayne Hawkes revealed. “More Than Ready has sired Golden Slipper and Magic Millions winners – that’s what we’re after.”
Day 2 was highlighted by the colt from Black Prada (Lot 406) purchased by Aquis Farm for $600,000. “The fact he’s by More Than Ready speaks for itself,” Aquis manager Shane McGrath said. “He’s a quality colt with plenty of size and our team really liked him.”
Day 3 gave John Singleton the chance to get reacquainted with More Than Ready when $550,000 bidding for the filly from Lipari (Lot 746). She’s a half-sister to Australian Derby Gr.1 winner Levendi.
Singo bred and raced champion mare More Joyous to 8 victories in Group 1 company and he coined a phrase that summed up the Vinery legend. “Life’s easy, really. You buy a More Than Ready…and they send you the cheques.”