Schweida success a sense of déjà vu

5 min read
Kelly Schweida trained Better Than Ready as well as his first stakes winner so there is no-one better to assess how the on-fire Lyndhurst Stud stallion is stamping his progeny.

The progeny of Better Than Ready (More Than Ready {USA}) have inherited the stallion's looks and speed but Kelly Schweida, the man who trained the former star sprinter and also his first stakes winner, The Odyssey, has noticed something else in common.

The amazing start from Better Than Ready's first crop elevated to a whole new level at Doomben on Saturday with The Odyssey's success in the Listed Phelan Ready S. followed by Better Reflection's win in the Listed Calaway Gal S. 40 minutes later.

It means that he has had six individual winners from 16 runners, who have combined for a total of nine wins to easily lead the likes of Brazen Beau, Rubick and Deep Field on the first-season sires' table.

Even more remarkable is that he has had just as many 2YO winners as Yarraman Park supersire I am Invincible in the first three months of the season.

Stamping his progeny

The invariable comparisons are flowing between Better Than Ready and his progeny, with Schweida the best placed man in the land to make those assessments considering he has four or five of his own in training, including The Odyssey.

"There is a strong resemblance between him (The Odyssey) and Better Than Ready and most of the ones I've seen. Probably 85 per cent of the ones I've seen look like Better Than Ready," he told TDN AusNZ.

"There is a strong resemblance between him (The Odyssey) and Better Than Ready." - Trainer, Kelly Schweida

"Most of them are black and look like him, I don’t know if they’ve got his ability yet."

The Odyssey as a yearling

But it is their work at the feed bin, as much as on the track, which gives Schweida the strongest sense of deja vu.

"The one thing that seems to have come through is that they are all good eaters like him," he said.

"They can really eat, all the ones that I've got, they are all tough at the feed bin and they are all well behaved."

The making of a stallion

Few anticipated the arrival of Better Than Ready's progeny more eagerly than Schweida, who had a huge opinion of the multiple stakes-winner when he had him in work.

"He showed me enormous ability. His first start he was $21 into $2.50 and that showed the ability he had," he said.

"I don't think he ever reached his potential." - Kelly Schweida

"He did a remarkable job that time, he jumped out of the gates and stood on his shoe and pulled three quarters of his foot off. The barrier blokes brought the plate back with half his foot still on it!"

Better Than Ready winning at Randwick

"People used to ring me and I’d get 100s of calls from breeders asking about Better Than Ready and whether I would send a mare to him. I don't think he ever reached his potential."

"I won the Brian Crowley with him and broke Northern Meteor's (Encosta De Lago) track record and I'm kicking myself I didn’t go to the Coolmore (Stud S). I thought I'll back off and look after him, but he was in peak form then."

There were a couple of key traits which Schweida felt were in Better Than Ready's favour when it came to making it as a stallion.

"I think what is most important is that he is Danehill-free, which suits most mares and he could handle the wet or dry." - Kelly Schweida

"I think what is most important is that he is Danehill-free, which suits most mares and he could handle the wet or dry. He broke that Randwick track record on a dry track but then he ran third in a G1 BTC cup on a bog track," he said.

"As a sire, you need progeny that can handle wet or dry and his horses are showing that already. A horse at Canterbury (Girls Are Ready) won on a Heavy 8 on Friday night."

Hitting the sales

Schweida went to the sales last season with plenty of enthusiasm for Better Than Ready's first crop, but only picked up a couple of them.

"I missed out on a lot that I wanted. I waited and waited for a few that really took my eye and I was the underbidder on a few. There were a lot that I wanted to buy, purely because I waited until the end of the sale where the ones were that looked like him, I missed out," he said.

Trainer, Kelly Schweida

The Odyssey, out of Jessica's Hope (Snitzel), was one of those two for $30,000 at the Magic Millions Gold Coast Sale.

Not only did The Odyssey become Better Than Ready's first winner with a victory in October at Doomben, after Saturday he now also holds the honour of winning the first piece of black type for the Lyndhurst Stud Farm stallion.

"You get a bit of a thrill when you buy the father as a yearling and I was the first one to win a race with one of his sons," Schweida said.

Millions plans for The Odyssey

Bigger things await for The Odyssey, who will head to the $2m Magic Millions 2YO Classic at the Gold Coast next month.

"He's pulled up well. I checked him at 4am this morning and he's fine," Schweida said. "He's a good little beginner, and he's a tough bugger, just like his sire."

"He's a good little beginner, and he's a tough bugger, just like his sire." - Kelly Schweida

Schweida said The Odyssey would likely have one more run at the Gold Coast the week before the Magic Millions as a tune-up for his major assignment.

"He's giving me that feeling that he's improving with every run," he said.