Heatherly is currently on top of 2016 Rubiton Stakes betting markets and co-trainer Simon Zahra has confirmed that the stable will not change the front-running style of the speedy filly.
Heatherly was touted as a potential Golden Slipper contender when she made her racing debut with an impressive victory in the Fujitsu Plate (1000m) at Moonee Valley on February 6, but she was unable to deliver on her early potential and was sent for a length stint in the spelling paddock following her second place finish in the Listed Festival Of Racing 1000 (1000m) at Flemington on March 7.
She returned to the races in December and was beaten as a short-priced favourite in a couple of occasions, but she led from start to finish to take out the Slickpix Handicap (1000m) at Moonee Valley on January 2 and the Andrew Guy Plate (1100m) at Flemington on January 30.
Zahra has been thrilled with the progress that Heatherly has made this preparation and he is happy with her condition ahead of the 2016 Rubiton Stakes, but he admits that she will need to go to another level to beat the likes of Politeness this weekend.
“She is a fantastic filly,” Zahra said.
“At the same stage 12 months ago we thought she was good enough to win a Slipper, but she went about everything the wrong way and she just wanted to over race and do everything wrong.
“She taxed herself in that autumn and we have built her up nice and slow and it has been a steady rise.
“It is the best I have ever seen her look this preparation and in her track work she is relaxing and looking good.
“She is in fantastic order going into tomorrow.
“She has to take that next step because these are seasoned horses and I think Politeness is a star.
“One thing we have on our side is fitness and we are going to be in front.
“We just need to hope there is a bit left in the tank at 1100.”
Heatherly has taken up the running in each of her race starts during her racing career to date and Zahra said that the stable has no plans to change the racing pattern of the Lonhro filly.
Talented front-running hoop Katelyn Mallyon is set ride Heatherly for the first time under race conditions in the Rubiton Stakes, but Zahra said that she has a good affinity with the three-year-old and will give her every possible chance in the Group 2 event.
“That is her natural pattern and you have to let them do what they do.
“Katelyn rode all her jump outs as a two-year-old, so she knows her very well and she goes really well for her.
“She was winning those trials by ten when Katelyn was aboard and with the 51 you have to use your gate and use your no weight.
“You can’t try and take a sit on these sort of horses, you get them into a nice rhythm and get their breathing right.”
Heatherly is currently available at 2016 Rubiton Stakes odds of $3.60 with Ladbrokes and is a narrow favourite from Politeness ($3.90), Éclair Choice ($6), Kuro ($8) and Lake Geneva ($8).