Three years, nine months, six days. Or 1377 days. That is how long it has been since Queensland gelding Phelan Ready won the 2009 Golden Slipper.
And he hasn’t won since.
The More Than Ready gelding has worn the race day saddle cloth 30 times since scoring victory in the world’s richest two-year-old race but has been unable to cross the line in front.
Trainer Jason McLachlan will take him back to where it all began this weekend in an attempt to break the drought when he contests the $330,000 Magic Millions Cup at the Gold Coast, the same venue he scored his only other career win in the Magic Millions Classic in January 2009.
With more than $3.6 million in prizemoney to his name, the $150,000 yearling owes connections nothing but gets a golden opportunity to shake his non-winner tag this weekend.
While with 58.5kg and a wide barrier 13 draw it would seem there is plenty going against the former juvenile star, McLachlan has targeted the race all preparation and is confident he is ready to fire.
“The Magic Millions Cup is the race I’ve set him for this campaign and he’s doing everything right,” McLachlan told Racing Queensland.
Phelan Ready has produced excellent form in the lead-up to his goal race, placing in all three starts this preparation.
He was second in the Listed Keith Noud Handicap (1350m) first-up before being narrowly beaten on the line in the Group 3 George Moore Stakes (1200m) and running third in the Listed Lough Neagh Stakes.
McLachlan has been pleased with the form and believes there is a key factor that can help him return to the winner’s circle this weekend.
“He’s never liked Doomben for some reason but the Gold Coast is different. He’s won there,” he said.
“He’s going great and has been carrying big weights and running very good sectionals.”
Phelan Ready has contested the Magic Millions Cup once before, running sixth in 2011 when he was never in the hunt after getting held up for much of the straight.