A likely wet track and a black type feature await Jason McLachlan’s former star juvenile Phelan Ready who, after just being balloted out of last Saturday’s iconic Stradbroke Handicap, will take their place at Ipswich on the weekend in the $175,000 Listed City Of Ipswich Eye Liner Stakes (1350m).
It has been a very long time between drinks for the now six-year-old More Than Ready gelding who has won just two of their 38 career starts to date, the most recent of which was the Group 1 Golden Slipper (1200m) back in April of 2009.
While he may be getting sick of being asked when win number three will come, the Sunshine Coast-based McLachlan has his fingers crossed it will be this Saturday.
“If I had a dollar for every time someone has asked me that, I’d be able to take the whole of Queensland out to lunch,” he said.
Despite their lengthy winning drought Phelan Ready has been far from a spent force in the stables winning plenty of prize money over the four years since their Slipper success.
This time in they were being prepared for another shot at Queensland’s richest race, the $1.36 million Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) but failed to earn a start when scratched as one of the emergencies on race day.
They get a chance at a Queensland Winter Racing Carnival consolation prize this weekend however in the Eye Liner Stakes on Ipswich Cup Day which will be their first look at the Ipswich track.
For that look McLachlan is praying the predicted wet weather eventuates and that the known mudlark gets a soft track as they look to finally reenter the winners’ stall.
As well as the likely favourable track condition Phelan Ready will also benefit from the booking of top jockey Glen Colless who may not have ridden the horse but who knows the Ipswich track like no other according to McLachlan.
“The Eye Liner is certainly no Stradbroke,” McLachlan said. “(But) if the speed is on and the track is soft, he should race really well.
“In all his runs he just has been giving them too much of a start. But he is finding the line strong.”
It won’t be an easy task however with plenty of class among the 28 Eye Liner Stakes nominations this year including Group 1 The Goodwood runner-up Conservatorium who was only just defeated in the Group 2 QTC Cup (1300m) in Brisbane a fortnight ago and last year’s second placegetter Jetset Lad.
Other highlights on the Ipswich race card this weekend include the $200,000 Listed Ipswich Cup (2150m) where notable entries include Peter Moody’s highly-rated import Voila Ici and the Toowoomba Cup quinella of Bang On and Dodging Eddie, as well as the fillies and mares facing off in the $100,000 Listed Gai Waterhouse Classic (1350m).