Co-trainer Mathew Ellerton is confident that stable star Heatherly will prove extremely difficult to beat when she takes her position in Saturday’s Listed Carlyon Stakes field at The Valley; a race she convincingly won in 2016.
Heatherly resumed in autumn for a disappointing sixth in the Group 1 Black Caviar Lightning Stakes (1000m), but responded with an impressive and dominant win in the Listed Bob Hoysted Handicap (1000m) on March 4th.
Sent to the paddock after weathering a tough run in transit before finishing eighth in the Group 1 The Galaxy (1100m) on March 18th, the Lonhro mare performed extremely well in an 800m hit-out at The Valley on Tuesday morning and Ellerton is confident she is ready to fire in the Carlyon Stakes first-up.
“She breezed over half-a-mile (800m) and quickened up the last bit,” Ellerton told AAP.
“She’s had a pretty good prep and touch wood her barrier manners have been pretty good.
“She always has those two trials before she resumes.
“While she wasn’t great in the gates, she wasn’t as bad as she could be.
“On her best behaviour she’ll be hard to beat.
“She’s wound up enough and the run will improve her but she’s got the miles in the legs for Saturday.E
“The Moir is the target so we’ll pick our way there. She’s restricted to short courses and hopefully we can get to the Moir in one piece.”
Winner of the Group 2 Rubiton Stakes (1100m) early in her 2016 preparation, Heatherly ran well to finish third behind Flamberge and Fell Swoop in the Group 1 Oakleigh Plate (1100m) before being sent to the paddock.
Clearly taking plenty of benefit for her win in the Carlyon Stakes first-up in spring, Heatherly failed to justify her market favouritism when third behind Wild Rain in the Group 2 McEwen Stakes (1000m), but ended her year an impressive second behind Extreme Choice in the Group 1 Moir Stakes (1000m).
The 2017 Carlyon Stakes field and barrier draw is due to be completed and released by midday, today (Wednesday, August 23rd).