Four great chances for Ellerton Zahra Racing at Flemington
Jan 29, 2016
The effects of a barrier blanket will go some way to shaping early favourite Heatherly's performance in Saturday's Andrew Guy Handicap (1100m) at Flemington.
Heatherly bounced back to winning form when too good for her opposition in Benchmark 78 grade at Moonee Valley on January 2 but her attitude around the barriers gave trainers Mathew Ellerton and Simon Zahra for thought.
The duo tried the barrier blanket on Heatherly in a jumpout at Flemington last Friday.
Zahra said the experiment produced the desired result with the daughter of Lonhro.
"We decided to use the blanket because she can get a bit stupid in the barriers and it's going to be three weeks between runs so we gave her a jumpout under a really tight hold," Zahra said.
"She went well in the gates and in the jumpout so we decided to go with the barrier blanket on Saturday."
Heatherly's last-start win was her first since her dominant debut success in Flemington last year but Zahra said the three-year-old's work has continued to improve since that run.
"Heatherly is just going to continue to get better. We've been really happy with her since her last win," Zahra said.
Stablemate Magna Rossa will be one of Heatherly's main rivals in the Flemington event. Magna Rossa won down the straight course at Flemington on New Year's Day but struggled when third to the smart Golden Spin on January 9.
However Zahra said Magna Rossa would be better for her latest test, which will be three weeks since her last-start placing.
"Not a lot went right for Magna Rossa that day but she probably wasn't at her best that day but she looks much better now," Zahra said.
"They're both going really well but it will be interesting when they run because they are drawn so far apart."
Heatherly will start from barrier one and have Damian Lane in the saddle while Katelyn Mallyon will stick with Magna Rossa, who will jump from barrier 12 after an early scratching.
The pair represent half of Ellerton Zahra Racing’s Flemington team with Not A Happy Camper to tackle the Peter Heath Handicap (1200m) while Hard Stride will contest the Listed Kensington Stakes (1000m).
“We’re really happy with both of them,” Zahra said. “Not A Happy Camper ran really well behind a pretty smart horse last time and she can go forward to give them something to chase.
“Hard Stride had a little bit of a break after he ran against Durendal before Christmas but that form turned out to be pretty good in the Standish Handicap.
“He’s drawn out but that won’t be a problem with the rail out down the straight. He’ll run well.”
Katelyn Mallyon will ride Not A Happy Camper while Damian Lane will be aboard Hard Stride.