Clerk of the Ballina racecourse, Bob Black, with course geldings Mick, left, 20, and Blue, 11.
Clerk of the Ballina racecourse, Bob Black, with course geldings Mick, left, 20, and Blue, 11. The Northern Star/Jacklyn Wagner

For Ready When You Are, there's no shades of grey

THE first thing Brisbane trainer Shaun Dwyer did when final acceptances were declared for today's Carlton Ballina Cup was check for any grey horses in the field.

To his relief there are none.

However, the problem does not end there.

One of the clerks of the course, Bob Black, rides a grey.

And it might be prudent if he keeps the grey a safe distance from Ready When You Are, the early cup favourite.

Ready When You Are, a stallion, has a liking for grey horses and it doesn't matter which sex.

“He is a lovely horse, big and quiet, and despite being a five-year-old stallion has shown little interest in mares,” Dwyer said.

“However, he has a fetish for grey horses. Every time he gets near one he arches his neck and becomes quite interested.

“It's the only time you ever see him act like that. It is a bit of a talking point whenever he gets near the greys the clerks of the course ride at Eagle Farm and Doomben.”

Fortunately, Ready When You Are is a tractable horse and does need to be led to the barrier.

Ready When You Are is the $3 early favourite for the cup ahead of the Stephen Lee-trained Felixtrinidad with top weight Craiglea Warrior the third pick and the Danny Bowen-trained Cedar Manor on the fourth line of betting.

Leading Brisbane jockey Jim Byrne, returning to Ballina for the first time in several years to ride Ready When You Are, has a soft spot for the horse.

“He is such a genuine horse and never stops trying,” Byrne said.

“He raced well during the carnival and will certainly be competitive.”

Ready When You Are won over 1600 metres at Eagle Farm four starts back and in three starts since has run successive seconds at Doomben from 1615 metres to 2020 metres.

Last year he ran third to Empires Choice in the Rough Habit and last May was a close second to Litter over 1500 metres at Eagle Farm at Listed level.



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