SUNSHINE Coast trainer Jason McLachlan recognises the enormous challenge facing Phelan Ready when the topweight lines up for the Group One Lightning Stakes at Flemington on Saturday.
The five-year-old gelding will attempt to upset champion mare Black Caviar in the $750,00 event, the latter's connections unexpectedly deciding to contest the weight-for-age dash over 1000m.
"It's a big ask," McLachlan admitted yesterday, "but I already had my horse down there and he was always going to run in this race.
"It was never their (Black Caviar's connections') plan to run in the race. There's not much I can do. My horse needs the run."
Phelan Ready is just starting his campaign and has also been aimed at the $1 million Group One Newmarket Handicap (1200m), which will be run at the same venue on March 10.
"It's a very, very hard race on Saturday but we've got to start him off somewhere," McLachlan said. "He's going around no matter what because the prizemoney for placings is good and it's the first run of his prep and I can't afford to miss the race with him."
A $150,000 purchase, Phelan Ready won the Golden Slipper as a boom two-year-old in 2009 and amassed more than $3.2 million in his first five runs.
He has struggled to make an impact since, however, finishing in the placings just six times in his subsequent 21 starts.
Trainer Peter Moody accepted with Black Caviar yesterday, pleased with the way she had pulled up after her win last Saturday in the Group 1 Orr Stakes (1400m).
The world's top sprinter, she undefeated and chasing her 19th victory.
Although some identities, including Brisbane trainer Rob Heathcote, suggested Black Caviar might be troubled by the 400m drop in distance, McLachlan believed she was unbeatable.
"I think she will win ... she's a freak," he said. "She's is simpler quicker and is something special.
"I've just to get out there and worry about my horse."
After a three-month break, Phelan Ready trialled well in Melbourne lastFriday. He will jump from barrier two with Brad Rawiller on board.
The race boasts a red-hot field, including Hay List, Buffering and Temple of Boom.
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