More Than Ready sprinter Knoydart was rated a Group 1 horse after blitzing his rivals in the Hareeba Stakes L (1200m) on Mornington Cup day.
Knoydart (4g More Than Ready – Regal Cheer by Arena) descended on the leaders and then dropped them at the furlong to win eased down by more than three lengths. “There’s a Group 1 in him,” jockey Nash Rawiller claimed. “He got into a rhythm and can go to a new level now.”
Rawiller was happy to win the Hareeba – his wife Sarah strapped the former class sprinter throughout a career highlighted by a Group 1 double down the Flemington straight-six in 1994-95.
Darley assistant trainer Paul Snowden agreed Knoydart can make his presence felt in better grades. “There’s another Listed race coming up but we might have to reassess that now,” he admitted. “He just ran away from them today.”
The next Group 1 sprint on the calendar is the $400,000 Oakleigh Plate (1100m) at Caulfield on February 22. Noms close next Monday.
Knoydart is one of the most improved horses in training since being gelded earlier this season. He won a Benchmark 80 sprint first-up at Canterbury in December and then graduated to a Listed victory in the Canterbury Classic before transferring to Darley’s Victorian base.
Vinery’s champion More Than Ready sired him from 2006 Coolmore Classic winner Regal Cheer who was purchased off the track by Sheikh Mohammed for $900,000.
Regal Cheer is a daughter of 1998 Victoria Derby winner Arena and that makes the Hareeba Stakes winner another example of the successful More Than Ready / Danehill cross.