The countdown to the Sydney Spring Racing...
Co-trainer of smart sprinting mare Heatherly, Mathew Ellerton confirmed plans to head to Sydney for Group 1 The Galaxy 2017 on Golden Slipper Day after her easy win down the Flemington straight on Saturday.
The four-year-old daughter of Lonhro was also accepted for the $500,000 Group 2 Challenge Stakes (1000m) over the same distance in Sydney.
Ellerton and fellow trainer Simon Zahra however opted to scratch her out of the Randwick Guineas Day race, not because of the Heavy Sydney track, but just because she looked to need a softer run.
A soft run and subsequent win for the punters as the odds-on favourite was exactly what the short-distance specialist got at her home course, easily accounting for her rivals in the $120,000 Listed Bob Hoysted Handicap (1000m) defeating Lady Esprit (2nd) and Snappy Esprit (3rd).
Heatherly raced first-up at the same track and distance a fortnight back in the Group 1 Black Caviar Lightning (1000m).
Pre-race dramas that day had her sitting in the barriers for some time and she never really recovered, eventually crossing only two lengths back sixth behind the upset winner Terravista.
“I think first-up she got a bit upset waiting so long in the barriers,” Ellerton said.
“She was on her best behaviour today.”
Heatherly was always going to find the drop right back to Listed class second-up easier going and she won accordingly, the mare and her hoop Damian Lane controlling the race from the jump to the line.
“She’s obviously the class galloper of the field and I was confident she could win,” Lane said after the cruisy, barrier-trial like victory.
“Dropping back to this grade was always going to be easy for her.
“She’s been a work in progress…the main thing is she had another good experience and she can go onto bigger and better things now.”
Those bigger and better things will occur in Sydney this autumn with Heatherly set to race at Rosehill Gardens in two weeks’ time in the $700,000 Group 1 The Galaxy (1100m).
“Fingers crossed she pulls up alright and we can take her up to Sydney [for The Galaxy],” Ellerton said.
Ellerton chases his second The Galaxy success after winning back in 2000 with Black Bean.
Mares have won the past two editions of the race with Sweet Idea (2015) and Griante (2016) both saluting for the girls in the Sydney sprint classic.
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2017 Bob Hoysted Handicap Results & Finishing Order
Flemington Race 2 – 04/03/201
|1||2||HEATHERLY||Mathew Ellerton & Simon Zahra||Damian Lane||–||1||59kg||$1.80F|
|2||5||LADY ESPRIT||Ciaron Maher||Dwayne Dunn||1.75L||2||54kg||$8|
|3||7||SNAPPY ESPRIT||Danielle Chapman||Ms Nikita Beriman||3L||3||54kg||$81|
|4||4||RELDAS||Robert Smerdon||Craig Williams||3.75L||5||56.5kg||$13|
|5||6||DANCE WITH FONTEIN||Robbie Griffiths||Jye McNeil||3.85L||4||54kg||$10|
|6||1||CHARMED HARMONY||John Sadler||Mark Zahra||3.95L||7||59.5kg||$15|
|7||3||HUSSON EAGLE||Patrick Payne||Steven Arnold||4.35L||6||56.5kg||$6|
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