More Than Ready (USA)
(Photo : Vinery Stud)
GOLDEN SLIPPER (Group 1)
Rosehill Gardens, Turf, 1200m
7 April 2012
If you’re a horseman on a visit to Australia, you can’t help but notice their deep infatuation with the progeny of Fastnet Rock. Spoilt for choice, Australians will admit that they flit from one fashionable horse to another, yet no-one can quibble with the fact that Fastnet Rock, who started out life at a relatively modest fee, has earned his place at the top table, displacing for the moment, Danehill’s other remarkable son, Redoute’s Choice in terms of “fashion”.
But the horse who’s really earned his stripes, who’s come along the hard way because he represented a somewhat “off-beat” lineage, prized greatly by Americans but not particularly in other realms, is More Than Ready. The son of 9-times South American Champion stallion, Southern Halo, is already sire of two winners of the world’s richest two-year-old race, the Aus$3 million Golden Slipper, which takes place in Sydney this Saturday. Whatever the rest of the world beyond America may have thought of the Hail To Reason tribe (which exists today through Halo / Sunday Silence and the various scions of Roberto), Australians have a healthy respect for More Than Ready, to the degree that his son Sebring was syndicated for Aus$30 million (close on R250 million) as a two-year-old on the back of his victory “in the Slipper”. To put it into context though, you should know, Australians have an absolute fetish with the outcome of the Golden Slipper, fabled by the long list of outstanding sires its winners (and placed horses) has produced.
It’s easy to understand More Than Ready’s dramatic escalation to the top of the stallion mountain. He has two winners of this race in recent times (Sebring 2008 and Phelan Ready 2009), he’s already annexed a couple of Australian Juvenile Sires’ Championships, he’s well on his way to a third, and he has the hot favourite, the unbeaten filly Samaready in Saturday’s line-up. But she’s not alone. More Than Ready has almost a third of the field (five of the sixteen entries), which tells you just how useful he is, and his success is by no means limited to Australia. Both 2010 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile turf events in America fell to his progeny, one to the filly More Than Real, and the other to a South African-connected colt, Pluck, (out of Prix du Cap heroine, Secret Heart (by Fort Wood)), who, on a day which celebrated several memorable finishes, produced the best of the lot.