The transformation of More Than Sacred was completed on Saturday when the one-time slouch took centre stage at Trentham with a dominant staying performance in the G1 New Zealand Oaks.
More Than Sacred (3f More Than Ready – Danalaga by Danehill) has required time to strengthen and the patient approach adopted by trainers Tony Pike and Mark Donoghue has now been richly rewarded. “She was an immature filly and was doing a lot wrong in her first preparation,” Pike said. “But this time back she has just thrived and improved so much with each run.”
Breaking her maiden over 1600 metres at Te Rapa in January, she then stepped up to black type company to finish third in the G2 Sir Tristram Fillies Classic (2000m) before sealing a NZ Oaks spot with a Listed victory in the Sunline Vase (2100m).
“We’ve always thought 2400 metres would be right up her alley and she’s gone on and proved that,” Pike said after the two-length victory. “They went a lot quicker than we thought they would early and she was caught wide and had to do a lot of work to get there. But she’s been strong to the line and is a real staying filly.”
The Oaks Stud’s homebreds Blanket Bay (Darci Brahma) and Aurora Lights (Darci Brahma) filled the minors. The Oaks provided a classic quinella in the 2012 edition of the NZ Oaks when Artistic downing Zurella in a tight finish.
Vinery champion More Than Ready sired his latest Group 1 winner from Sydney winner Danalga. She is raced by Dato Yap’s Raffles Dancers syndicate and he also owns G1 NZ 2000 Guineas winner Sacred Falls (O’Reilly).
The Malaysian businessman bought Danalga in foal to More Than Ready for $250,000 at the 2009 Magic Millions National Sale. The NZ Oaks winner is the latest G1 success for the More Than Ready / Danehill cross following Benicio, Perfectly Ready and Dreamaway.
Minutes earlier, Sydney based filly Romantic Moon became the 113th black-type winner by More Than Ready in the Sweet Embrace Stakes at Warwick Farm. The John O’Shea trained filly is from a Danehill mare (Tropical Affair) owned by Gooree Pastoral.