Tamworth trainer Lesley Jeffriess had never laid eyes on Lonely Orphan when she agreed to pay $1300 for her.
“I bought her sight unseen over the phone,” Jeffriess told AAP.
It turned out to be a shrewd buy, with Lonely Orphan already earning more than 37 times her price tag as she prepares for her second trip to Rosehill for Saturday’s $100,000 Country Classic over 2000m.
Winning the Country Classic shapes as a significantly easier task than her last visit to the track for the Group One Vinery Stud Stakes (2000m) in March.
“I probably threw her in the deep end a bit there but they’re only three once,” Jeffriess said.
“We just decided while she was up and running to go and have a crack at it.”
Jeffriess said they were almost hopeful she would miss a start as an emergency and race in the Group Three Adrian Knox Stakes instead.
As one of the highest rated of the 35 entries for the race for country-trained horses, Lonely Orphan is not in danger of missing a start on Saturday.
But with her regular jockey Darren Jones riding at the twilight meeting at Moree the day before, the trainer may have to find someone else with the mare scheduled to carry 53.5kg under the set weights and penalties conditions.
“He’d struggle to be able to get into a sauna and then get to the races,” Jeffriess said.
Lonely Orphan finished third in the Port Macquarie Cup at her last start, beaten by eight lengths but not disgraced as she worked home in the closing stages.
“She’s a funny mare to ride. She didn’t want to get going early,” Jeffriess said.
“He’d just about given up hope on her and she started to work into it herself once they straightened.
“She gets a bit like that sometimes.”
Lonely Orphan is one of five horses trained by Jeffriess.
“I used to have a fair few but I cut right back and I do it all myself now,” Jeffriess said.
While she rarely has the quality of horse to make the five-hour trip from Tamworth to Sydney, Lonely Orphan will make the journey for a race worth almost 100 times what she cost.