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One of Australian racing’s longest winless streaks in history finally ended over the weekend with Sunshine Coast horseman Jason McLachlan rewarded in Brisbane for his patience with former star juvenile Phelan Ready.
The now eight-year-old More Than Ready gelding had developed a cult like following, but for all the wrong reasons.
Until Saturday the veteran hadn’t won a race in five years and four long, long months.
But they still went out at single figures for the $50,000 Desleigh Forster Racing Handicap (1400m) through Ladbrokes.com.au.
The drought broke at Eagle Farm one day after the horses’ birthday with Phelan Ready celebrating his milestone 50th career start with an “electrifying” performance.
“It’s the worst race he’ has won, but it’s the happiest I have been,” McLachlan said post-win.
“I said this morning it was Phelan Ready’s 50th run today and it was the horses’ birthday during the week.
“I thought the stars might be aligning, my missus believes in all that stuff.”
Ridden by their regular jockey Eddie Wilkinson the pair proved McLachlan’s premonitions about “all that stuff” correct.
After settling perfectly they worked their way from near last to first over the line beating home the Rob Heathcote-trained favourite Saluter ($2.90) by a quarter length.
Kelly Doughty’s also well fancied Little Brown Horse ($3.40) was then a distant third over two and a half lengths off the surprise winner.
One of the most promising juveniles back in 2009, Phelan Ready caught the eye that year winning the Gold Coast Magic Millions 2YO Classic in January and then backing up in April at Rosehill to take out the $3.5 million Group 1 Golden Slipper (1200m).
That was the definite high of McLachlan’s training career as he celebrated success in the world’s richest race for two-year-olds with his co-trainer and father Bruce McLachlan.
Having lost his father just a few months later, McLachlan was left alone to train their Caloundra-based contingent.
He had spent time away from racing, his license suspended due to personal issues, this year but finally felt the weight off of his shoulders on Saturday.
“I said to my wife this morning, the next person who asks me ‘Has the horse been frustrating to train?’ I was going to headbutt,” he said candidly.
“He has been frustrating thought. But he’s been a great horse too, he’s won bordering $3.7 million or something.
“Today he gave them a start and beat them.
“On his day he is electrifying.”
Phelan Ready has now won three of his 50 starts for over $3.7 million in prize money, still a tidy return for connections who picked them up from the 2008 Magic Millions Yearling Sales for $150,000.
They will now continue racing and hopefully add a few more late career wins to their record.
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