Rival trainer Jim Taylor has given Robert Heathcote hope that Fire Up Fifi can defy her wide barrier draw and win the Group 1 2013 Railway Stakes (1600m) at Ascot on Saturday.
Heathcote said that he was extremely disappointed to draw barrier 18 for his classy mare but told Racing Ahead this morning that a conversation with Taylor, whose star sprinter Barakey will clash with Buffering in the Group 1 Winterbottom Stakes (1200m), has him confident that with a bit of luck Fire Up Fifi can play a part in the finish on Saturday.
“That was my fault unfortunately but there is not much we can do about it,” Heathcote said about the barrier draw.
“I was talking to Jim Taylor the other day and he said don’t be too concerned because in the Railway they generally run a solid clip and if you can be back with cover, even three deep, coming wide is generally the way to run these mile races at Ascot.
“It is not ideal and we are going to need a lot of luck but Damien is in red-hot form and he knows her well.”
Fire Up Fifi has been an extremely consistent performer in Brisbane over the past few years, winning at Listed level on three occasions, but Heathcote waited patiently before giving the daughter of Bradbury’s Luck her first interstate campaign.
The six-year-old started her spring preparation with a disappointing 12th place finish in the Group 3 Sheraco Stakes (1200m) before stamping herself as a legitimate Group 1 contender with her win in the Group 2 Blazer Stakes (1410m) and strong performances in the Group 2 Tristarc Stakes (1400m) and Group 1 Myer Classic (1600m).
Heathcote said that he was always confident that the Fire Up Fifi was good enough to be competitive at the highest level of racing but admits he has been surprised at just how well the tough mare has handled the lengthy time spent away from her home stable.
“She is really well and she has totally exceeded our expectations,” Heathcote said.
“We knew that she had the ability to perform well in Melbourne but just the way that she has done it.
“It is always a bit of an unknown the first time that you travel a horse away but she has absolutely thrived.
Fire Up Fifi completed her final piece of trackwork earlier this morning and Heathcote said she is primed and ready for what will be her first ever tilt at an open Group 1 event in the 2013 Railway Stakes this weekend.
“We didn’t have to do a lot with her and we have her ready to go,” Heathcote said.
“We just need a little bit of luck and another cracker from Brownie.”