Heatherly to shoot for the stars in Galaxy after Flemington success

Mar 04, 2017

A Sydney target is still on the agenda for Heatherly after the speedster’s front-running win in Saturday’s Listed ATA Bob Hoysted Handicap (1000m) at Flemington.

A heavy track prompted trainers Mathew Ellerton and Simon Zahra to withdraw Heatherly from Saturday’s Group II Challenge Stakes (1000m) at Randwick but the decision to stay home produced an easy watch for the mare’s connections.

Damian Lane let Heatherly ($1.80 fav) roll along in front before she quickened in the last 400m to outsprint Lady Esprit ($8) to score by 1 ¾ lengths, confirming her trip north for the Group I Galaxy (1100m) in a fortnight.

Heatherly finished two lengths from the winner Terravista in the Lightning Stakes (1000m) first-up but Ellerton said the daughter of Lonhro may have been annoyed by the pre-race barrier drama that day.

“First-up, I think she just got a bit upset waiting so long in the barriers in the Lightning but she was on her best behaviour today and really tractable for Damian,” Ellerton said.

“Fingers crossed she pulls up all right and we can take her to Sydney.”

Lane said the class drop was always going to suit Heatherly despite the fact the mare carried 59kg.

“She was the class galloper of the field. I was confident she could win the Lightning (Stakes) first-up so dropping back to this grade was always going to be easy work for her,” Lane said.

“She’s getting there. She has been a work in progress.

“The team has done a great job to get her to relax a bit. She was a bit finicky in the gates today, I think she’s always going to be, but the main thing is she had a good experience ad she can go on to bigger and better things now.”

The $81 outside Snappy Esprit raced handy to the speed before holding third, three lengths from the winner.