Better Than Ready for 2014 Oakleigh Plate Assignment

After their Brisbane win last weekend Kelly Schweida’s smart stallion Better Than Ready is set for a big Melbourne Autumn Racing Carnival raid targeting the Oakleigh Plate 2014.

Better Than Ready

Keith Noud winner Better Than Ready could vie for the Oakleigh Plate - Newmarket Handicap double next autumn. Photo: Daniel Costello.

The More Than Ready four-year-old is unbeaten this time in with back-to-back Eagle Farm wins to their name.

The latest was last Saturday when they lumped a hefty 60.5kg to an impressive long neck win over Benny’s Buttons (55.5kg) in the Listed Keith Noud Handicap (1200m).

That was the eighth career win from 15 starts for the progressive galloper who is now being prepared for a raid on the Victorian Group 1’s next year.

Last autumn Better Than Ready earned a trip interstate after a brave second-up effort at home in February winning by three lengths.

They ran at Flemington and were far from disgraced when five lengths away fifth to Shamexpress in the Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) in March before heading back home.

Their Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival campaign was then hit and miss.

It included a Listed Mick Dittman Plate (1000m) win, and a third in a muddy edition of the Group 1 BTC Cup (1200m) behind Your Song.

But it also revealed they were a sprinter and not a middle distance galloper as they rounded things off with a dead last (18th of 18) in the Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m).

The Eagle Farm-based Schweida has plans this autumn to again target the Newmarket Handicap, the $1 million sprint to run at Flemington on March 8.

Also on the agenda is the $400,000 Group 1 Oakleigh Plate (1100m) held the month before at Caulfield Racecourse on February 22 as part of Blue Diamond Stakes Day.

Their resuming run is scheduled for February 8 at Caulfield in the Group 2 Rubiton Stakes (1100m).

“He’s gone out to Washpool Lodge for three weeks where he’ll have a two week break and a week on the water walker and then he’ll come back into work and head down to Melbourne,” Schweida told Racing Victoria.

“We had planned to send him down to Melbourne for the Schillaci Stakes (in October) but during his track work in the week leading up to the race he threw his rider and ended up jumping the fence.

“He had a few cuts and bruises so we gave him a couple of weeks to get over it.

“We were going to send him straight to the paddock but that would have meant six months between runs which wouldn’t have been ideal.”

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