More Than Sacred Shows Stamina in NZ Oaks

Making her first start at the top level, More Than Sacred drew away to a comfortable two-length win in the Wellfield New Zealand Oaks (NZ-I) March 16 at Trentham.

The More Than Ready   filly raced close to the early pace in the 2,400-meter (about 1 1/2-mile) test. She seized command entering the straight when jockey Leith Innes gave the cue and secured the victory at the 200-meter mark when cruising clear.

More Than Sacred covered the distance in 2:30.46 while Blanket Bay chased her to the finish line to take second, well clear of third-place finisher Aurora Lights. Favorite High Fashion, a multiple group III winner, could not improve from mid-division after racing back in the 15-horse field. She finished 10th.

More Than Sacred convinced her connections she was a serious classic contender when she battled back to win the 2,100-meter (about 1 5/16-mile) Sunline Vase (NZ-III) last March 6 at Ellerslie after being headed in the straight. She was a late entry to the race and was the second favorite.

"She was probably lucky she got a couple of cheap sectionals down the back and she's very strong at the line. She's a real staying filly," co-trainer Troy Pike told Australia's Associated Press about More Than Sacred.

The bay filly improved to three wins and a third from seven career starts and provided Pike and co-trainer Mark Donoghue with their second classic win of the season following Sacred Falls' win the New Zealand Two Thousand Guineas (NZ-I) in October. Innes bypassed the mount on Sacred Falls in the Randwick Guineas, also March 16, and the colt finished fifth behind winner and fellow New Zealand-bred It's a Dundeel.

A homebred of Raffles Dancer Ltd., Australian-bred More Than Sacred is out of the stakes-placed Danehill mare Danalaga. Grandam Tamarino is a half sister to 1995 U.S. champion turf male and sire Northern Spur.

More Than Sacred is among 116 stakes winners for elite international sire More Than Ready, a former Vinery Kentucky resident stallion who was relocated to stand at WinStar Farm in Versailles, Kentucky, for the first time this season.

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