The last Group 1 race of the season in Australia...
This afternoon in Brisbane a line-up of potential 2020 Magic Millions 2YO Classic runners at the Gold Coast next month will face off at Doomben in the Listed $125,000 The Spirit Of Boom Phelan Ready Stakes (1100m).
Running as Doomben Race 5 at 5:04pm (local time) on the Twilight Brisbane meet, this year’s Phelan Ready Stakes field is down to just five juvenile colts and geldings after the early scratching of Neutron (5).
Three of those have previous race experience including the odds-on favourite Rathlin (2) prepared by Ciaron Maher & David Eustace.
This year’s Melbourne Cup winning jockey Craig Williams has the mount on the progressive Fastnet Rock colt who is out to atone.
Last start Rathlin was beaten by the barest of margins when second to Euphoric Summer at Ballarat in the Victorian edition of the $250,000 Magic Millions Clockwise Classic (1000m) on November 23.
Mark Zahra had the mount that day and for the colt’s seventh on debut at Flemington over the Melbourne Cup Carnival in the Group 3 Maribyrnong Plate (1000m) but has been replaced by Williams in the Phelan Ready Stakes.
The bookies are taking no chances with a fresh Rathlin this afternoon with the youngster tipped to break his maiden status at start number three as the odds-on favourite in Phelan Ready Stakes betting at $2.190 through Ladbrokes.com.au.
Against a smaller field from the nice barrier, the favourite should also relish the step-up to 1100m after finishing off so strongly last time out over 100m shorter and is the definite one to beat.
He donned the blinkers for the first time at Ballarat and did a bit wrong showing his greenness in the run, but co-trainer Eustace believes his class will shine through in the Phelan Ready Stakes.
“Rathlin is a horse we are very much working out and he is very much working out how to put his races to bed, we don’t feel we have seen the best of him,” Eustace told Racenet this week.
“Thankfully he does handle fast work well, so we have been able to get him some extra experience galloping at home.
“The blinkers have certainly helped him and if we can jump and try to control the race that would be good.”
Rathlin is heading towards a potential run in the $2 million Magic Millions 2YO Classic (1200m) at the Gold Coast on January 11 currently paying $21 in the all-in markets for the summer feature.
Former champion hoop turned trainer Chris Munce saddles-up the danger in this year’s Phelan Ready Stakes with Kavak ($3.40) drawn in barrier three.
Jim Byrne continues his association with the in-form Deep Field colt who won a 2YO’s set weights race over 1000m at Eagle Farm on debut in early October before a last start third at the Gold Coast.
That November 27 run was over 900m and getting back up in distance will suit the smart two-year-old who is a $51 roughie in 2020 Magic Millions 2YO Classic betting for next month.
Munce is after his second Phelan Ready Stakes win as a trainer in four years following his earlier success with Ours To Keep in 2016.
He also rode two winners during his time in the saddle aboard the Michael Nolan-trained Sir Luminar (2012) and the Barry Mitchell-trained Wicked Intent (2014).
The rails-drawn War Memorial ($4.50) for Peter & Paul Snowden is the third favourite, followed by fellow debutant Clifton Springs ($8.50).
Rounding out the markets is the well-bred Kevin Kemp-trained colt Count The Coin ($16), a son of the race’s namesake Spirit Of Boom, who was making up late ground on debut when fourth over 1050m at Doomben in late November.
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