Lees chases Chelmsford Prize

More Than Ready (USA) commences his latest book at Vinery Stud on Saturday Morning – likely his last in the Hunter Valley – and he can grab yet another feature race in the afternoon at Randwick.

His Group 1 classic winner Prized Icon has opened a $6 second-favourite for the Chelmsford Stakes Gr.2.  Trainer Kris Lees has booked Tommy Berry to take over the reins from apprentice Sam Weatherley.  “It was a big run first-up,” Weatherley said after the Gooree Stud homebred went down a half-length in the Spring Preview (1400m) at Rosehill on August 11.  “He probably got to the front a little too soon and pricked his ears but he felt super.”

Vinery partner Greg Perry also has his homebred Cabeza de Vaca in the market at $8 to win the Chelmsford.  He was still in front of the Winx Stakes Gr.1 field at the furlong a fortnight ago but was no match for the champion mare in the final stages.

At last weekend’s stallion parades, Vinery general manager Peter Orton announced More Than Ready will probably remain in Kentucky as from next year.  “It’s been a privilege to stand a stallion of his calibre,” Orton said.  “He might be 21 but is still in huge demand in Kentucky and his next northern book is already filling at double the fee he stands for here.”

The Randwick meeting gives All Too Soon (pictured) a chance to back-up in the $125,000 Schweppes Hcp (2000m) for owner-trainer team of John Cordina and David Payne.  She completed a hat-trick at Rosehill in February and Cordina told Aushorse she’s bigger and stronger off last week’s win over 1500m.  “We’re going again to get her rating up.  She’s done well since last week’s race and is well and truly over the sprained hock from the Vinery Stakes in the autumn.”

All Too Soon is part of a growing group of All Too Hards heading for black-type at the spring carnivals.  Cordina indicated she will be set for the Newcastle Gold Cup Gr.3 or Kingston Town Stakes Gr.3 in a fortnight.

Za Zi Ba completed a Rosehill double for All Too Hard last Saturday and trainer Brad Widdup is aiming her towards the Sheraco Stakes Gr.2 at Rosehill on September 8.

The Vinery sire also has Reginae on trial for bigger things in Race 1 at Randwick on Saturday.  Trained by Kris Lees, she won her maiden running away at Kembla Grange and holds a Group 1 nomination for the Thousand Guineas at Caulfield on October 13.

Rock Hard will strip much fitter at Caulfield on Saturday in the McNeil Stakes Gr.3.  Trained locally by Byron Cozamanis, he was unbeaten during a late autumn campaign but gave ground quickly in the straight when racing first-up in the Vain Stakes Gr.3 earlier this month.

Testa Rossa mare Ellicazoom has her first run for Lindsay Park in the Cockram Stakes Gr.3 in the lucky-last at Caulfield.  Unfortunately, she had no luck at the 1200m barrier draw and, even though there’s a long straight to the first turn, co-trainer Tom Dabernig said she will need a good run from gate 19.

And hour earlier, Testa Rossa gelding Palace Tycoon contests the $40,000 Birdsville Cup in outback Queensland.  The tough 6yo began his career with Contract Racing in Melbourne and was a recent winner at Roma.

The new Hong Kong season commences on Sunday and Vinery is represented by three starters in Race 5 at Sha Tin – Harbour Century (Pluck), Shanghai Dragon (All Too Hard) and Gloriam (Mossman).

In South Africa on Sunday, More Than Ready gelding Lloyd’s Legacy is a winning chance for the Itsarush Stakes (1000m) at Scottsville.  He won over the sprint trip in PM earlier this year and will be primed after a couple of prep runs for trainer Louis Goosen at Greyville last month.

More Than Ready also has Spanish Harlem entered for the Wasted Tears Stakes LR at Gulfstream Park.  She became the 190th and latest stakes winner by the Vinery legend in the Barely Even Stakes LR there on August 18.