Christmas comes early in Counties Cup

More Than Ready’s Group 1 winning mare More Than Sacred is peaking at just the right time for New Zealand’s feature staying events over Christmas and the New Year.

Trainer Tony Pike is has been pleased with her build up to the G3 Waikato Gold Cup (2400m) at Te Rapa this Saturday.  “She galloped brilliantly on Tuesday morning and is flying,” Pike said.  “We couldn’t be any happier and she should be very competitive as long as it’s not too wet.”

More Than Sacred (4m More Than Ready – Danalaga by Danehill) won her maiden at Te Rapa in January and added the LR Sunline Vase before dominating her rivals in the G1 NZ Oaks at Trentham in March.  She crossed the Tasman for a crack at the G1 Australian Oaks but was all at sea in the heavy going behind Royal Descent.

The Cambridge based mare has come through this season’s lead-up runs with flying colours.  Following unplaced pipe-openers at Hastings and Te Rapa in October, she was narrowly beaten at Ellerslie on Melbourne Cup day and then appreciated the step up in distance when a three-length winner of the Fisken & Sons Hcp (2400m) at Pukekohe on November 23.

“She’s tough and 2400 metres is right up her alley,” Pike said.  “All the better if it’s a strong staying test this Saturday.”

More Than Sacred is raced by Dato Yap’s Raffles Dancers syndicate.  The Malaysian businessman bought her dam Danalga in foal to More Than Ready for $250,000 at the 2009 Magic Millions National Sale.