Heatherly has led from start to finish to post a comfortable win in the Listed Bob Hoysted Handicap (1000m) on the famous Flemington straight this afternoon.
Heatherly failed to fire when sixth in the Group 1 Black Caviar Lightning Stakes (1000m) first-up at Flemington a fortnight ago, but the mare was undoubtedly the horse to beat when she was confirmed in a small field of seven for the Bob Hoysted Handicap.
Jumping from the gates well, the Lonhro mare immediately took up the running on the rail and set only a fair tempo alongside the likes of Snappy Esprit and Charmed Harmony.
Always looking the winner, jockey Damian Lane allowed the mare to quicken with 300m to run and she comfortably pulled clear of her rivals to find the line close to three lengths ahead of Lady Esprit; Snappy Esprit boxing on to finish third.
Lane delivered a good ride aboard Heatherly to win the Bob Hoysted Handicap, but was quick to lay all the praise on the mare immediately after the race.
“She’s obviously the class galloper of the field and I was confident that she could win a Lightning first-up, so dropping back to this grade was going to be easy work for her,” Lane said.
“She’s been a work in progress, but the team have done a great job to get her to relax a bit. She was still a bit finicky in the gates today, but she’s always going to be.
“The main thing is she had another good experience and she can go on to bigger and better things now.”
Co-trained Matt Ellerton was on hand for Heatherly’s win in the Bob Hoysted Handicap and confirmed that the Group 1 The Galaxy (1100m) in Sydney will figure as her next point of call in two weeks’ time.
“I think first-up, she probably just got a bit upset waiting in the barriers there for so long in the Lightning,” Ellerton said.
“She was on her best leg today and she was very tractable for Damian.
“That last run before a spell she had a bleeding attack and you’re always sort of on the edge with something like that, so fingers crossed she pulls up alright and we’ll take her up to Sydney.
“We were in a race up there today (Group 2 Challenge Stakes), but we just thought second-up she still looked a little pretty in condition, it probably wasn’t the right scenario for her today.”
Heatherly has now posted an impressive six wins and as many minors, through only thirteen career starts.