More Than Sacred is on track for a hat-trick of feature cups in New Zealand following a comprehensive victory in the G3 Waikato Times Gold Cup (2400m) at Te Rapa on Saturday.
Trainers Tony Pike and Mark Donoghue will set the daughter of Vinery champion More Than Ready for the G2 City of Auckland Cup (2400m) on New Year’s Day and the G2 Wellington Cup (2400m) on January 25.
“The race didn’t really go as planned,” Pike said as jockey Leith Innes brought the mare back to scale. “They were stacked up and then Wisecrack went for home down the back. But Leith didn’t panic. She’s a tough staying mare and she was strong on the line.”
More Than Sacred (4m More Than Ready – Danalaga by Danehill) caught the tearaway leader inside the furlong to score by three-quarters of a length. “There wasn’t a lot of speed and Wisecrack was racing fiercely when he took off,” Innes said. “They had a handy break on us and I was hoping the 53kg was going to kick in and, to the mare’s credit, she got up late.”
A 5 time winner from 13 starts, More Than Sacred has earned over $318,000 for 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.
More Than Sacred won the G1 NZ Oaks at Trentham in March and connections have more elite level staying tests in mind next year. “All going well after the Wellington Cup, we will have a go at the Auckland Cup and then decide about Sydney,” Pike said. “The further she goes, the better.
“There’s not much of her but she just jumps out and relaxes, ”Pike explained. “She’s going to get two miles and I would love to see her guaranteed a start in the 2014 Melbourne Cup.”