Lightweight Newmarket Handicap (1200m) chance Better Than Ready has ticked another box ahead of his Group 1 debut with a strong jump-out at Flemington this morning.
Top jockey Craig Williams partnered the Queensland colt in the 800m hit-out and he clocked a slick 46.48 seconds to edge out fellow three-year-olds Shamal Wind and Shamexpress.
It was an important familiarisation session for both Better Than Ready and Williams. Williams takes over the ride from regular jockey Rick McMahon who is unable to make the 50.5kg weight allocation.
Trainer Kelly Schweida said he could not resist throwing his hat into the Newmarket ring with such a favourable weight but is not getting carried away with his chances.
“That was the thing that persuaded us to come, the 50.5kg,” Schweida told media at Flemington this morning.
“Even if he could run in the top five he’d certainly be on track for a promising horse.”
The Brisbane trainer takes confidence out of the More Than Ready colt’s Brian Crowley Stakes win in October where he broke the Randwick 1200m track record.
“He ran good time in Sydney when he won. They all said there was a tailwind but it’s probably not the first time there has been a tailwind at Randwick,” Schweida said.
Giving Schweida further reason to be optimistic is the form out of that race, with runner-up Jolie Bay finishing second to Nechita in the Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes in November.
“The form around him is pretty good,” he said.
Better Than Ready has had two lead-up runs, running second at Eagle Farm on February 9 before storming home to claim the Listed Falvelon Handicap by three lengths on February 23.
The emerging galloper’s career record stands at five wins from eight starts.