Hunter Valley studs beckon Black Caviar

With a decision on Black Caviar’s first stallion imminent, it was business as usual for More Than Ready on Saturday.

The Vinery champion sired a cross-continent double with Miss Ready (Rosehill) and Dark Miss (Belmont) and another Group 1 is on the horizon with Better Than Ready in the Stradbroke Hcp at Eagle Farm.

Miss Ready (4m More Than Ready – Amistosa by Encosta De Lago) ran her rivals into the ground with a front-running victory at Rosehill.  She was eased down by Kathy O’Hara to score by a length but it could have been three or four.

A Gai Waterhouse cast-off, Miss Ready has won 4 races from 8 starts since transferring to Luke Pepper at Moruya.  “You can never be too confident coming to town,” he admitted.  “But we’ve always thought she was good enough and she was cherry ripe today.”

Rank-and-file punters followed the stable lead by backing the More Than Ready mare in from $41 to $19.

Bookmakers weren’t as liberal when framing a market on what stallion will serve Black Caviar in September.  Coolmore Stud sire Fastnet Rock is the $2.25 favourite ahead of More Than Ready ($4.20) and Darley resident Exceed And Excel ($7.50).

Apart from the fact he’s a champion sire in his own right, More Than Ready has an inside run on the other candidates through Black Caviar’s senior part-owner Neil Werrett.

Werrett also owns a stake in Vinery’s Hunter Valley operation.

Vinery general manager Peter Orton played a straight-bat when fielding questions at the Magic Millions National Sale on the Gold Coast.  “We hope it’s More Than Ready but there are several options out there,” Orton explained.  “He sires precocious types and his record in Golden Slippers and the Magic Millions will help.”

More Than Ready is also in the mix size-wise.  Black Caviar is a strong, powerful mare with huge hind-quarters so her owners could choose a stallion that – in human terms – is more of an athlete than a weight-lifter.

More Than Ready fits the bill on that score – he’s not a massive bull – and his stock get up and run early.

Earlier this year, Vinery bought Black Caviar’s Group 1 winning half-brother All Too Hard for stud duties and Orton confirmed his first book is about to be closed.  “He’s the real deal and is the most exciting stallion prospects I’ve seen for many years.  He was a super racehorse and his pedigree is perfectly suited to our conditions.”

All Too Hard’s initial service fee of $66,000 (inc gst) was no deterrent.  Breeders didn’t baulk paying that money for a young stallion who was arguably our second-best thoroughbred in 2012-13.

– Karl Patterson