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Top Brisbane horseman Robert Heathcote has declared his one-time favourite Fire Up Fifi as a genuine chance in Saturday’s Railway Stakes 2013 over in Perth so long as the speed is on for the mile clash.
The Bradbury’s Luck mare’s chances in her latest run, the Group 1 Myer Classic (1600m) at Flemington on November 2, were hampered by a slow pace according to Heathcote.
Still the smart six-year-old managed a brave third behind Chris Waller’s champion Red Tracer and their second placed stablemate Catkins.
It was a brave effort from the Blazer Stakes winner who carried 57kg there, and who will benefit from the drop back to just 54kg on Saturday.
“It’s going to be a tougher assignment, but she deserves her chance,” Heathcote told the Herald Sun.
“She’s earned her way there and with 54 kilos she’s going to be suited.
“At her last start she carried 57 kilos when third behind two classy Group 1 mares in Red Tracer and Catkins and they didn’t run along.”
She has the class and ability to improve on that and break her Group 1 duck this weekend though if the pace is on in Ascot’s $1 million Railway Stakes (1600m) says Heathcote.
“If it’s run at genuine tempo she comes right into play. She’s a top-class mare,” he said.
Fire Up Fifi sat at the top of the pre-field Railway Stakes odds earlier in the season.
After a full field and the barrier draw however she’s dropped down the markets sitting as the third favourite at around $7.
She trails only the Wez Hunter-trained Emirates Stakes runner-up Smokin’ Joey who came up trumps with barrier seven, and fellow Queensland mare Longport drawn in barrier 12 (into 10 with the four emergencies out).
Heathcote’s hope meanwhile has her work cut out for her after drawing barrier 18, which will at best become gate 16.
While on paper the wide gate looks nasty, but in the past 30 years barrier 16 has in fact been one of the most successful producing three Railway Stakes winners since 1983.
Heathcote will also be represented at Ascot on Saturday in the day’s other Group 1, the $500,000 Winterbottom Stakes (1200m), by race favourite Buffering.
Both of his horses made the trip west on an interstate charter flight Sunday night, and both are spot on for Saturday.
The Winterbottom Stakes 2013 barrier draw is yet to be conducted but in the pre-gate markets dual Group 1 winner Buffering is the clear $2.30 favourite as he seeks his third elite level win on the trot.
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