More Than Ready Gets Third Group I Winner in Australia
by Peter Tonkes
Date Posted: 5/7/2006 10:28:25 PM
Last Updated: 5/10/2006 5:53:58 PM

It was a long way from Louisville, Ky., but Vinery enjoyed a big day out on South Australian Derby day at Adelaide's Morphettville May 7.

The cheering started around eight hours after Barbaro blew them away at Churchill Downs when first crop Testa Rossa son Testafiable won the Derby (Aust-I) as the 2-1 favorite.

But More Than Ready   son Perfectly Ready ramped up the Vinery volume in becoming his sire's third southern group I winner in Adelaide's major sprint, the Goodwood Handicap (Aust-I).

Less than 48 hours before the 132nd Kentucky Derby (gr. I), Vinery's Australian manager, Peter Orton, announced that Testa Rossa would relocate from Victoria to join the Vinery roster.

Easily the best son of Danzig horse Perugino, Testa Rossa racked up six grade I races to a mile, earning $3 million (Australian funds) in the process. Australia's champion 3-year-old sprinter was in 2001 ensconced at the Woodward family's Yallambee Stud, outside Melbourne. Testa Rossa also worked at Haras du Petit Tellier in France for two years from 2003.

Yallambee bred Testafiable from Jamelden Echo, a New Zealand-bred daughter of Irish sprinter Prince Echo. Peter Moody prepares Testifiable for the Kennedy Syndicate and admitted the colt had been just short of peak fitness when third behind Headturner in the Australian Derby (Aust-I), at Randwick April 15.

In the $325,000 Derby, Testafiable stepped out of the shadows to win by 1 3/4 lengths from Empire Gold (by former shuttler) Second Empire, and Irazu (Encosta de Lago). On a slow track after overnight rain, the 2,500 meters went on seven seconds longer than the race mark, ending in 2:43.39.

Testafiable was perfectly ridden by Greg Childs just off the pace. It was the 70th group I success for the former regular partner of champion distaffer Sunline.

Moody harvested his second Derby winner from the Yallambee draft at the 2004 Magic Millions Yearling Sale for $135,000. Testifiable's earnings in two seasons stand at $719,000 with three wins and six placings from 16 starts.

The Vinery-Australia crew's pleasure with the timing of Testa Rossa's first group I success turned to excitement as Perfectly Ready collected the 121st Goodwood two races later.

Vinery bred Perfectly Ready and race the colt in partnership with Sheikh Khalifa. The colt was listed as sold for $90,000 at the 2003 Australian select foal sale.

More Than Ready  's first crop son is extremely well bred, his first two dams by Danehill and New Zealand champion Balmerino. His dam, Elle Duccio, is a half-sister to Golden Slipper (Aust-I) winner Belle du Jour (by Dehere), his second dam Delightful Belle also a four-time graded winner.

He appeared a likely group I winner when he landed a group III as a fall juvenile and ran third in the Blue Diamond Stakes (Aust-I). However, his immaturity showed last spring the campaign halted after a plodding sixth in the Caulfield Guineas (Aust-I). It had opened with much promise; a second in the weight-for-age Manikato (Aust-I).

The Mick Price-trained colt contested the $300,000 Goodwood off a midfield finish behind wire-to-wire winner, Proud Tower To, in the Golden Shaheen (UAE-I) at Nad al Sheba March 25.

As most of the 20 runners fanned wide in search of the best of the damp going, Stephen Baster on Perfectly Ready saved ground at the rail to hit the front in mid-stretch, as requested by Price. The widest runner, Sassbee, motored home near the outside rail but failed by three-quarters of a length.

The consistent Squillani finished 1 3/4 lengths back in third. Although more than two seconds outside the race record, the 1:10.78 for the 1,200 meters was good given the state of the oval.

Perfectly Ready's 13-1 odds was unlucky only for his rivals as he advanced his career record to three wins, two seconds, and a third from 10 starts, for $530,150. Like Lou reed said, Just a Perfect Day.

More Than Ready   has sired 24 stakes winners. The Halo grandson has worked at Vinery's north and south since 2001, his 2006 season at the New South Wales branch set at $50,000. His previous group I winners in Australia arrived last year, Carry on Cutie in the Champagne Stakes and Benicio in the Victoria Derby. Benicio joins the Vinery roster with a $12,000 fee this season.

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