Murwillumbah trainer Matthew Dunn is looking...
More Than Ready four-year-old More Than Great was originally targeting Saturday week’s $1 million Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) at Eagle Farm, but Dodson had to abandon the campaign when the horse failed to perform in his first-up run for the season.
A multiple Group placegetter, More Than Great was bought back after a 13 month spell to contest the $100,000 Scone Quality Handicap (1100m) on May 13.
Despite having shown good form with back-to-back barrier trial wins earlier in the year, come race day More Than Great only managed to beat home one other runner when beaten eight lengths by Motspur at Scone.
“Despite the result, you can’t be too critical of the run because he was 13 months off the scene and he has come on,” Dodson said of the Scone Quality run.
With the Stradbroke no longer an option, Dodd has now made the decision to start More Than Great in the $70,000 Omni Handicap (1200m) at Rosehill this Saturday in the hopes of reviving their once very promising career.
“The Stradbroke is out of the equation now,” Dodson said.
“He had to run really well at Scone first-up to go to Brisbane but things didn’t work out.”
Previously prepared by trainer David Payne, More Than Great has started 13 times for a trio of wins to date and has twice raced against Group 1 company.
Their biggest track success and claim to fame was their victory over subsequent dual Cox Plate winner So You Think in the 2009 Ming Dynasty Quality at Randwick.
The sprinter-miler also showed good form early in their 2010 campaign, their first-up run in the summer producing a nail-biting second to Shoot Out in the Group 2 Sovereign Stakes (1200m).
Since that run in February of last year, More Than Great has failed to finish better than eighth in their next four starts, and that eighth place finish came in an eight-horse field.
Much of the disappointment since joining Dodson has been the unfortunate consequence of a leg injury More Than Great sustained during a spell.
“Unfortunately he did some damage to his hind leg while he was spelling,” Dodson said.
“I knew one of the owners and it was decided to send him up to me to rehabilitate on the beach and in the salt water.”
With their amazing win over superstar So You Think being More Than Great’s last visit to the winner’s stall, they will have to show plenty of improvement at Rosehill this weekend to convince connections they are still a Group race runner.
There is also a back-up plan to stand More Than Great at stud, his breeding and solid season as a three-year-old making him a worthy sire.
“He’s by More Than Ready and he’s well bred on his dam’s side,” Dodson said.
“The owners are keen to give him a crack at stud and if I can win a couple of Group races with him that will make him a better proposition as a stallion.”
Dodson was impressed with the horse’s work at Rosehill on Tuesday morning, despite More Than Great having to be worked on an inner track.
“By bringing him down early (on Monday) I was hoping to give him a good gallop on the grass, but the rain put an end to that idea,” Dodson said.
“I was still able to put him up against one of Tim Martin’s (horses) who gets along a bit and he worked nicely.”
At Rosehill on Saturday More Than Great is due to be ridden by apprentice hoop Adam Hyeronimus and they have drawn barrier eight in the 11-horse field.
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