A bushranger, an empty feed bin and a stroke of good fortune – it almost sounds like the start of an Irish joke.
But trainer Joe Cleary will be hoping to have the last laugh when Girls Are Ready attempts to book a spot in the Magic Millions Classic with a top-two finish at Warwick Farm on Saturday.
The youngster emerged as a possible contender for next month’s $2 million race with a win at the Canterbury night meeting last week, a race that was only ever a Plan B and came into play when the Queanbeyan meeting she was scheduled to run at was washed out.
“My plan was to run her over 900 (at Queanbeyan) and they got abandoned so it’s amazing how things work out,” Cleary said.
“I just had her in at Canterbury as a back-up and sure enough she got the cash.”
The win started Cleary thinking the filly, a $30,000 buy by first season sire Better Than Ready, might be worth a Magic Millions bid.
While Girls Are Ready is small in stature, Cleary says she has the character and constitution to cope with a tough two-year-old campaign.
And that’s where the bushranger and the feed bin come in.
“She just keeps improving and just keeps on taking the next step,” Cleary said.
“Obviously, after her win last Friday night, I let the feed bin tell the story and she dished up on Saturday morning.
“She’s as game as Ned Kelly. She’s not all that big but she puts it out there and she’s improved again.”
And she will need to have made further improvement when she meets a tough field of eight rivals including Elon and Dolci from the all-conquering Chris Waller yard which produced the Inglis Nursery winner Accession last weekend.
She will also take on the might of Godolphin which is enjoying a great two-year-old season and saddles up first starter Deterge in Saturday’s Member Get Member Handicap (1200m).
Girls Are Ready needs to finish in the placings to bank enough prize money to stay in contention for a start in the Magic Millions, but even if the dream doesn’t come to fruition, Cleary will take her to Queensland for a QTIS race the following week.
“We need some sort of attrition rate but if she runs top two she’ll get in, if she runs third you start to pray,” Cleary said.
Jess Taylor retains the mount on Girls Are Ready on Saturday and Cleary says she will stay aboard for the Magic Millions if the filly makes the field.