Phelan Ready gets his best chance to return to the winner’s list since taking out the 2009 Golden Slipper when he lines up in the Listed $175,000 Carlton Draught Prime Minister’s Cup (1300m) at the Gold Coast tomorrow.
A drop in class, a wet track and Shane Scriven to ride are the three ingredients that could see Phelan Ready salute the judge for the first time in over three years.
The Jason McLachlan trained Phelan Ready’s only two wins were in his two year old year but managed to win the big two and as well as the Slipper victory took out the $1.6m Magic Millions Two Year Old Classic (1200m) at the Gold Coast.
The More Than Ready five year old has then raced at the highest level and has been unable to get back into the winners stall but has managed several placings at Group level.
The Gold Coast track is currently rated a heavy 8 after receiving 142mm for the week, mostly over last weekend which caused the abandonment of last Saturday’s meeting.
Even though McLachlan is hoping for clearing skies and the track not to be downgraded, the forecast is for more showers today and Phelan Ready has shown his best form to be on rain-affected tracks.
“I’m hoping the track won’t be too rain-affected. He appreciates wet tracks so long as it’s not too heavy,” McLachlan said.
But the record books show that Phelan Ready’s greatest win in the Golden Slipper was on a heavy track when co-trained by Jason and his late father, Queensland racing icon Bruce McLachlan.
Phelan Ready has been freshened up since a Melbourne Autumn Carnival campaign which saw him finish near the tail of the field behind Black Caviar in the Group 1 $750,000 Coolmore Lightning Stakes (1000m) at Flemington on February 18.
He then ran a much improved race when just over two lengths behind Hay List in the Group 1 $1m Lexus Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at Flemington on March 10 and rider Dean Yendall said that with a little bit of luck they could have finished a lot closer or possibly have won.
“His Newmarket run was a beauty. He went super,” McLachlan said.
“Dean Yendall got off him and said he would have won if he could have got moving on him earlier.”
McLachlan has called on the services of heavyweight jockey Shane Scriven to help overcome the wide barrier draw (12) with the topweight of 59kg.
Scriven has just returned from a long lay off due to a suspension resulting from the whip stealing incident at Ipswich twelve months ago and has already ridden a winner at the Sunshine Coast from a handful of rides.
“He’s got a fair bit of weight with 59 kilos and he’s got an ordinary barrier but the weight is only half a kilo above weight-for-age,” McLachlan said.
“It’s a good race but it’s nowhere near the calibre of the fields he’s been racing in lately.”
“I’d love to see him win, particularly for Scrivo who’s an old family friend of Dad and myself.”
Phelan Ready is a $12 chance in the betting for the Prime Minister’s Cup with the Peter Moody trained Mid Summer Music heading the market at $5 just ahead of Listen Son ($7) who is to be ridden by Michael Cahill who has just returned from a riding stint in Mauritius.
Scriven will also be aboard dual Doomben Cup winner Scenic Shot in the Group 2 $300,000 Gold Coast Turf Club A D Hollindale Stakes (1800m).
The nine year old returned to form with a last start third to Ginga Dude in the Listed Members’ Handicap (1600m) at Eagle Farm two weeks ago and a tilt at a third Group 1 $500,000 Kirks Doomben Cup (2000m) at Doomben on May 19 is on the agenda.