Australian Thoroughbred

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26/6/2019  More Than Ready in surprise return to Vinery for 2019

More Than Ready (Southern Halo), the evergreen shuttler whose exploits in the covering shed number 193 stakes winners worldwide, will return to Vinery Stud for the forthcoming breeding season following a dramatic u-turn in plans for the champion stallion. Six months on from December’s announcement that More Than Ready had shuttled to Australia for the final time on the back of a 64-strong book, it was yesterday confirmed the rising 23-year-old will once again take residence at Vinery Stud in 2019 - his 19th consecutive year in the southern hemisphere. The WinStar Farm sire, who has shuttled to Australia since 2001, will stand for a reduced fee of $55,000 (inc GST) - his lowest since 2007 and down from $66,000 (inc GST) in 2018 - as his book of mares is being restricted. A Grade 1 winner on the track, More Than Ready has been an international revelation as a stallion, siring 24 top-tier winners, including late Widden Stud resident and champion sire Sebring, who died from a heart attack in February.
He had been the obvious Australasian candidate to continue the legacy of More Than Ready and his loss was a bitter blow for the industry, while that legacy has been given further credence through the performance of Lyndhurst Stud’s Better Than Ready this campaign. In an extraordinary first season on the track, Better Than Ready has sired 20 individual winners, surpassing the record of 18 set firstly by Northern Meteor (Encosta De Lago) in 2012/13 and equalled by Spirit Of Boom (Sequalo) last year. Better Than Ready is set to stand for $33,000 (inc GST) in 2019 having covered his first four books at $9,900 (inc GST), while his progeny include Phelan Ready Stakes (Listed, 1110m) and subsequent Aquis Jewel (1200m) winner The Odyssey. The decision to elongate the shuttling career of More Than Ready has been undertaken on the back of his latest northern hemisphere campaign, in which he covered 135 mares at a fertility rate of greater than 90 per cent. In addition, WinStar president Elliott Walden pointed to More Than Ready’s continued health, libido and fertility as deciding factors in returning the stallion to Australia. “He is truly a remarkable horse and judging by how the horse is doing right now we believe that continuing to shuttle could help keep More Than Ready fit and sound for breeding. We look forward to getting him back at the end of the year,” Walden said. More Than Ready’s global reach is exemplified by his extraordinary statistics - a tally of 193 individual stakes winners places him in the top five stallions of all time, a list that is headed by Coolmore supremo Galileo (Sadler’s Wells), while he is the world’s leading sire of individual winners with a total of 1,794 - one that has been achieved at a strike-rate of over 73 per cent by the winners-to-runners metric. Furthermore, since August 1 last year, More Than Ready has produced ten individual stakes winners worldwide, including four topflight scorers and two Australian Group-winning juveniles in the shape of Kooweerup and Ready Set Sail. Vinery general manager Peter Orton expressed his delight at the return of their flagship stallion, while he pointed to the benefits of the shuttling routine as assisting the well-being of the horse more generally.
“I am obviously delighted More Than Ready will be returning to Australia for the coming breeding season,” Orton said. “He is an amazing stallion that continues to outperform other stallions in the breeding barn. “He has always been a great traveller and handles the process with ease. In fact, I have found that keeping stallions active maintains their longevity and health better than standing around for eight months every year between breeding seasons does.” More Than Ready will once again spearhead Vinery’s seven-strong stallion roster, which includes his Grade 2-winning son Pluck, who is about to begin his eighth breeding season, and Press Statement - a son of the late Yarraman Park resident Hinchinbrook - whose first crop of yearlings averaged $64,255 this year.


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