Heatherly joins the Ellerton Zahra Racing roll
Jan 02, 2016
Heatherly rewarded Ellerton Zahra Racing’s hard work with a dominant win in Saturday’s Slickpix Handicap (1000m) at Moonee Valley.
The filly created a big impression with a brilliant debut win at Moonee Valley in February last year but failed to score again in four subsequent runs, including as a short-priced favourite at her first start starts this time in.
Co-trainer Simon Zahra, who trains Heatherly in partnership with Mathew Ellerton, said criticism of the daughter of Lonhro made the stable keener to get her back to winning form.
Ellerton and Zahra enjoyed an outstanding start to 2016 with four winner’s 24 hours earlier at Flemington but Heatherly created the most pressure for the stable.
"When they say she’s a money muncher, we just get more determined to prove that she’s not and the real deal was there today,” Zahra said.
"Of all the runners of the weekend, this has been the most pressured one.”
Heatherly gave connections a few concerns when she was backed out of the barrier after getting a back leg up in the gates.
However, vets cleared her to run before Heatherly raced on the speed to the turn before sprinting clear under Damian Lane’s urgings to score by three lengths.
Zahra said Lane had worked hard with the stable to educate Heatherly to settle in her races, which paid off as the three-year-old travelled well for the jockey despite Petite’s Reward racing outside her to the home turn.
"Today we just wanted to keep her rolling and she looked the winner a long way out,” Zahra said.
"There has been a lot of work done behind the scenes to get her to relax and Damian has been a big part of that.”
Zahra said he and Ellerton could give Heatherly a break before aiming her at better races during the upcoming Melbourne carnival.
Congratulations to Heatherly’s extremely patient owners Barrie and Midge Griffiths and all involved with her terrific win.