Hero rises to Challenge

More Than Ready’s emerging star Creative Hero can handle the rise to Listed level in Saturday’s $100,000 Challenge Stakes (1500m) at Ascot.

A homebred for Bob and Sandra Peters, he didn’t debut until Boxing Day and is on a hat-trick after wins at Bunbury and Ascot.  Champion jockey Willie Pike has elected to ride the lightly-raced 3yo who descends from another successful family nurtured by the Perth couple.

Creative Hero has opened a $2.20 favourite to become the 191st stakes winner for Vinery legend More Than Ready.  “William has a high opinion of him,” Bob Peters said.  “Personally, I don’t think there’s much between our three runners.”

Peters has won two Challenge Stakes in recent years with Neverland (Big Brown) and Morant (Fusaichi Pegasus).

Creative Hero’s dam Imaginative (Bianconi) has a yearling colt by More Than Ready and is back in foal to Vinery sire Star Turn.  She is a half-sister to Group 1 champion Old Comrade and other stakes winners in the immediate family include Power Prince (Belmont Stakes LR) and Powerful Prince (Kalgoorlie Cup LR).

More Than Ready also has winning prospects in New Zealand, North America and Hong Kong this weekend starting with Spring Heat in the Dunstan Feeds Hcp (1200m) at Ellerslie on Saturday.

Co-trainer Lance O’Sullivan is hoping to get her latest campaign back on track after a nightmare outing in the Concorde Handicap Gr.3 last month.  “There wasn’t much packing under the saddle and she went five or six strides before it moved and she started to buck,” O’Sullivan explained.  “She had to trial with raceday gear and passed the test without any problems.”

Spring Heat won the Bonecrusher Stakes Gr.3 last season and O’Sullivan has black-type assignments in mind during the Auckland Cup carnival.

More Than Ready’s Group 1 winner Eagle Way returns to the elite level in the Hong Kong Gold Cup Gr.1 at Sha Tin on Sunday.  He had excuses for a last-start loss in the January Cup Gr.3 after receiving significant crowding early on and then being forced to tramp three-wide without cover for the remainder of the race.

There are three More Than Ready gallopers entered for stakes races in North America on Saturday.  Frolic More is quoted at $11 for the Risen Star Stakes Gr.2 at Fair Grounds and fellow 3yo colt More Ice is $9 on the morning-line for the El Camino Derby LR at Golden Gate.

Elevenses opened her black-type account at Gulfstream Park last year and is a $4.50 second favourite for the Minaret Stakes LR at Tampa Bay Downs.  More Than Ready sired the Tim Hamm-trained mare from stakes winner Cougarstown (Speightstown) and she was a relatively inexpensive $50,000 buy at the 2016 Keeneland September Yearling Sale.