Lady ready to show her Skills in NQ Cup at Townsville
EMERGING young trainer Michael Geaney is daring to dream of cups glory with barnstorming mare Lady Skills.
A last-to-first win at Cluden over 1600m last week convinced Geaney to test the mare as a big-race carnival prospect in today's Wilson Ryan Grose Lawyers North Qld Cup (1609m) at Townsville.
"The original plan was to aim her at the Bracelet over 1300m during the carnival and then Cairns but she won the mile race so well we'll try her for the cups," Geaney said.
"She relaxes beautifully in her races and has brilliant acceleration when she's asked to go.
"I spoke to Chelsea Jokic who rode her in her first win before she had a fall, and Chris Whiteley who has been on her at her past two runs and they think she'll get out over further.
"Graham Kliese (out injured) has guided me in my training career and his advice was almost word for word with Chris.
"The mare has just kept improving. I know she's only won a Class 3 and a benchmark 65 and she's stepping up to Open class, but she's doing everything right and she's a dream to train.
"Thursday's race will be a good test and it gives the winner ballot-free entry in the Townsville Cup. It'll tell us whether we keep going down the cups path and go to Mackay and then back here."
Racing and training Lady Skills is a family affair. Geaney's mum Debra bought the ex-Victorian mare in a tried-horse auction three months ago.
Lady Skills has had three starts for the young trainer, winning two and finishing an eye-catching third with her fast-finishing style.
Geaney has had consistent success with a small string of horses since starting his training career six years ago.
Winners have included Horacio, Royal Physician and gutsy mare Fille Vilaine, but Geaney rates Lady Skills as his best prospect yet.
"Her previous trainer Matt Laurie told me he thought she'd make a good mid-week metro horse, but if I could get an extra length or two from her she'd be up to Saturday city class in Brisbane," he said.
"The way she switches off and conserves energy and then takes off when they push the go button gets me a bit excited."
The NQ Cup has attracted a capacity field headed by seasoned Cup contenders Hot Saga and Ranked.
Thursday's program also features the Stockland Townsville Open Handicap (1200m), which offers the winner an automatic start in the Lazy Yak Cleveland Bay Handicap (1300m).
The Roy Chillemi-trained Concluder and Pinyarda head the capacity field of 12 and three emergencies.