Queanbeyan trainer Joe Cleary and jockey Jess Taylor hope to etch their names in Magic Millions Classic history at the Gold Coast on Saturday.
Cleary is hoping to emulate his father Frank Cleary who won the Magic Millions Classic with Clan O’Sullivan in 1992 when he saddles up Girls Are Ready in the $2 million feature.
The race was run in two divisions that year with Clan O’Sullivan winning both races in January and May.
Taylor has ridden Girls Are Ready in all her three starts for two wins and a third and is aiming to become only the second female rider to win the Magic Millions Classic since it was first run and won by Snippets in 1987.
Adelaide’s Clare Lyndop is the only female to win the Magic Millions Classic when successful aboard Augusta Proud in 2008.
Taylor, 27, has ridden in two Group 1’s during her six-year career, but the Magic Millions will easily be her greatest victory if successful.
“I’ve ridden in an Oaks and The Vinery but they were on long shots,” Taylor said.
“This is my best chance of winning a big race outside two Listed race wins on Slightly Sweet in the Winter Stakes and More Energy in the Parramatta Cup.”
Taylor rates Girls Are Ready a “sneaky” chance but is hoping for some rain.
“She’s a bit of a long shot but I’d be a lot happier if we got some rain,” Taylor said.
“It would be unreal to win, especially for Joe (Cleary) who has been a big supporter of mine and it would a buzz to become only the second female to win it.”
It certainly will be a girl’s day out if the O’Sullivan clan are successful with the Better Than Ready filly.
A bargain buy at only $30,000, Girls Are Ready is owned by a syndicate of women making it one of only six horses in the starting lineup chasing the Magic Millions Racing Women’s bonus of $500,000.
The syndicate is headed by Joe Cleary wife’s Sharlene and Frank Cleary’s wife, Sue while Girls Are Ready races in the Cleary’s famous colours of lime green and purple hoops, white sleeves and cap.
Cleary is surprised how quickly Girls Are Ready has settled into her new Gold Coast environment following her recent win at Warwick Farm on December 22.
“She’s travelled up well and her temperature is fine,” Cleary said.
“I’ve been coming up here a long time with Dad and I’ve never seen a filly do so well.
“She’s ready to rock ‘n’ roll and I’m confident she’ll pick up a cheque.
“She’s a ladies’ owned filly and she’s a decent chance of getting a slice of the money there too.”
Girls Are Ready has drawn in the middle of the pack in gate 10 and is a $19 chance in latest TAB markets behind $5.50 favourite Exhilarates.
– Racing Queensland