After proving her fitness with a first-up win at Doomben over the weekend, Natalie McCall’s Sunshine Coast-based mare Lady Echelon could target the 2013 Bernborough Handicap at the end of the month.
The four-year-old Top Echelon grey posted her fifth win from just nine career starts when resuming off a four month break in Saturday’s $80,000 Listed Travel Associates Classic (1200m).
Well suited to the Heavy (8) track the known mudlark thrived in the wet and was able to hold off the Bryan Guy-trained Jacquetta ($15) and win as an $11 chance in the race by a long neck.
It was her third win on a Heavy-rated course with McCall likely to continue searching for rain-affected tracks as Lady Echelon continues her latest preparation.
Despite jockeys earlier in the day having gone down the centre of the track, Lady Echelon’s hoop Tim Bell kept their position near the inside and it proved a winning move.
“I felt there wasn’t much difference in the state of the track from inside to outside and it made no difference to her,” he said.
“She cherished the heavy track and would’ve won no matter where she was on the track.”
Just half a length further away again for third in the fillies and mares’ race was then fellow Sunshine Coaster Doubtfilly ($6.50), winner of the Ascot Handicap during the winter, for Stuart Kendrick.
The well backed favourite Discreet, also first-up after a good winter carnival, failed to let down in the wet and the $3.30 top elect only beat home one other runner when over eight lengths away 11th.
McCall had harboured doubts pre-race about Lady Echelon’s ability to match them over the 1200m, a distance the miler had raced over just once before when second on debut back in July last year.
She needn’t have worried however with the wet track work to their advantage.
“I was a bit suspect whether she was going to be nippy enough first-up over that distance,” McCall told AAP on Saturday.
“Obviously at this time of year we weren’t expecting to have a heavy track and I only gave her one quiet trial at Deagon going into the race so there’s still plenty of improvement in her.”
Lady Echelon will be stepped up in distance next race though going up to 1350m for the $80,000 Listed Just Now Quality at Eagle Farm on December 14.
If all goes well she’ll stay on for a shot at the lucrative $200,000 Listed Bernborough Handicap (1615m) at Toowoomba over her preferred distance on New Year’s Eve.
Her last look at the mile produced a four length win over Heza Jetsetter at Eagle Farm on July 20 in an open handicap for the then three-year-old.
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2013 Travel Associates Classic Results & Finishing Order
Doomben Race 5 – 30/11/2013
|1||10||LADY ECHELON||Natalie Mccall||Timothy Bell||–||1||55.5kg||$11|
|2||7||JACQUETTA||Bryan Guy||Ryan Wiggins||0.2L||6||55.5kg||$15|
|3||1||DOUBTFILLY||Stuart Kendrick||Michael Cahill||0.7L||9||58.5kg||$6.50|
|4||5||NUPTSE||Bryan Guy||Chris Munce||2.2L||4||55.5kg||$26|
|5||12||TEAR IT UP||Tony Gollan||Bobby El-Issa||2.6L||2||55.5kg||$31|
|6||9||WORDS ARE WEAPONS||Sam Kavanagh||Chad Lever||2.7L||10||55.5kg||$10|
|7||11||TUKIYO||Lacey Morrison||Ms Maija Vance (a)||3.5L||12||55.5kg||$21|
|8||6||ALLTHERIGHTMOVES||Les Kelly||Larry Cassidy||3.7L||8||55.5kg||$26|
|9||2||LIESELE||Liam Birchley||Glen Colless||8L||5||56.5kg||$5|
|10||4||CALIENTE||Bruce W Hill||Jim Byrne||8.1L||3||56.5kg||$31|
|11||3||DISCREET||Kelly Schweida||Ric McMahon||8.3L||11||56.5kg||$3.30F|
|12||8||DARCEY||Sue Grills||Robert Thompson||8.8L||7||55.5kg||$15|