Trope (More Than Ready) was desperately unlucky not to win the Show County Hcp Gr.3 last weekend but his stablemate Exceedance can make amends at Rosehill this Saturday.
Team Hawkes copped it on the chin when Trope was beaten a nostril by Deprive at Randwick. He clocked a blistering 32.32s for the final 600m to get within a pixel of the winner.
“He’s got the making of a very good horse and last week showed it’s all coming together,” co-trainer Michael Hawkes explained. “He always had the physical attributes but mentally he wasn’t there. That why we gave him time.”
The lightly-raced son of Vinery legend More Than Ready impressed Tommy Berry first-up after a winter spell. “I was rapt with that run. If anything, he travelled a bit too well because they didn’t go as quick as I thought they would. It was a super effort.”
Berry rides Vinery colt Exceedance for Team Hawkes in the San Domenico Stakes Gr.3 this Saturday when he goes up against Godolphin star Bivouac who has opened a $1.70 favourite.
Exceedance (Exceed And Excel) had everyone talking after a dazzling debut at Wyong in May. “He’s one of the nicest young horses I’ve ever ridden in my career,” Berry declared. “I can’t speak highly enough of him. Really, he could be anything.”
Vinery bought Exceedance for $180,000 at the 2018 Inglis Easter Yearling Sale with a syndicate that includes industry leaders Rupert Legh, Neil Werrett, Encompass Bloodstock, Phoenix Thoroughbreds and Glenlogan Park.
Saturday’s Ming Dynasty Quality Gr.3 at Rosehill brings together another top-class 3yo field heading towards the classics. Vinery sires are doubled-handed with Brisbane raider Alligator Blood (All Too Hard) and NZ Stakes winner Rhaegar (Pluck).
Alligator Blood puts his unbeaten record on the line for trainer David Vandyke. “We keep lifting the bar and he keeps jumping it,” Vandyke said this week. “Saturday will be a huge test and I was a bit surprised when he was allotted 59kg. He got to give weight to some pretty promising horses but he’s come down in good shape.
“I love All Too Hard as a stallion. I’ve got about 8 of them in work and they are tough horses mentally and physically. We also have Baccarat Baby going down to Melbourne for the (Gr.1) Empire Rose Stakes and she’s by All Too Hard’s sire Casino Prince.”
Kiwi trainer Murray Baker knows what it takes to plunder marquee races in Australia and he has Rhaegar racing first-up in the Ming Dynasty. The Pluck gelding won the Auckland Futurity LR at Ellerslie in May and is being set for the Spring Champion Stakes Gr.1 at Randwick.
“He’s more of a staying horse,” Baker said. “He’s improved since trialling at Te Rapa and is on target for races at a mile and beyond.”
In Adelaide, All Too Hard 4yo Behemoth will be on trial for a trip to Sydney in the Penny Edition Stakes LR at Morphettville. He has opened an even-money favourite following a good fourth to Begood Toya Mother in the Regal Roller Stakes LR at Caulfield. “He worked pretty well on Tuesday morning,” trainer David Jolly said. “I’m happy where he’s at and hopefully it’s onwards and upwards from here.”
Jolly believes Behemoth can develop into a leading candidate for the $7.50 million Golden Eagle (1500m) at Rosehill on November 2.
Training maestro Graeme Rogerson can win the first New Zealand Group 1 of the season this Saturday with More Wonder in the Tarzino Trophy (1400m) at Hastings.
The son of Vinery sire Mossman won a Taupo trial last week and Rogerson is pleased with how he has returned after a lengthy spell. “He’s a lot more forward than I thought and I was very happy with his trial. He just had a couple of little issues last prep but we have sorted that all out.”
More Wonder raced right up to 2400m in the New Zealand Derby Gr.1 last season but Rogerson believes he is better suited to shorter distances. “I think he’s a sprinter-miler. And he’s probably a lot better racing right-handed than left-handed.”
In North America, Vinery legend More Than Ready will keep climbing up the USA 2YO sires’ table if Weekend Fun wins the Juvenile Fillies Stakes LR at Kentucky Downs on Saturday. She has been installed a $5 second favourite on the morning line for the $500,000 juvenile feature over 1600m. It’s the richest purse for juvenile fillies on turf in the USA outside the Breeders’ Cup.
Weekend Fun (2f More Than Ready – Weekend Fantasy by Pleasantly Perfect) is trained by Steve Asmussen and is from a winning half-sister to five Stakes performers. She was a $200,000 buy for Phoenix Thoroughbreds at the 2018 Keeneland September Yearling Sale.