Talented mare Heavens Above will head to the 2016 Epona Stakes at Rosehill Gardens in a fortnight after she recorded an impressive victory in the Aspiration Quality at Royal Randwick this afternoon.
Heavens Above was settled in the second half of the field by jockey Christian Reith, while All Cerise took up the running, and Reith was forced to take the talented mare wide at the top of the straight.
Heavens Above responded well when she was asked for an extra effort and she raced up to All Cerise before she eventually wore down her rival to record the biggest win of her racing career to date.
Trainer Tony Martin was very bullish about the chances of Heavens Above in the lead-up to the Aspiration Quality, but he admitted that he was slightly concerned when Reith was forced to make his move a long way from home.
“I was worried because they weren’t going hard in front and Hughie stacked them up,” Martin said.
“When I got on his bike early I hoped he hadn’t gone too soon, but it was the right move.
“She will probably go to the Epona at Rosehill in a couple of weeks and we are just going to take it one step at a time.”
Reith was worried that Heavens Above would be forced to give All Cerise to big a start in the Aspiration Quality and he said that it was essential that the Street Cry mare was within striking distance at the top of the rise.
The rejuvenated hoop believed that the early move was essential to the winning chances of Heavens Above, but he was quick to pay credit to the turn-of-foot that she showed when asked for an extra effort.
“She is flying,” Reith said
“It was an awkward race today and she was always going to be forced to go a little bit further back then we wanted to, which we did today.
“It was all about getting her up to speed and getting her within striking distance.
“We were able to do that today, which was good and the rest was up to her once we got to the top of the rise.
“She dug deep and went well.”
All Cerise toughed it out bravely to finish a close, while Godolphin mare Alegria maintained her consistent form with a fast-finishing third.