Heatherly right for fresh Carlyon defence

Heatherly racehorse
Heatherly is on target to defend her Carlyon Stakes crown after winning a second Flemington jump-out. Photo: Racing.com

A gallop at Moonee Valley has Heatherly primed to begin her spring campaign in a Listed race at the inner-city course.

The Mathew Ellerton and Simon Zahra-trained mare runs in Saturday’s Carlyon Stakes (1000m), a race she won 12 months ago.

After last year’s success, Heatherly went on to be placed in the McEwen Stakes and Moir Stakes, also at Moonee Valley.

The five-year-old hasn’t raced since running eighth in The Galaxy at Randwick in the autumn but Ellerton said the mare had undergone a faultless preparation.

As she has done at the start of previous campaigns, Heatherly has had two jump-outs at Flemington and Ellerton said the trip to Moonee Valley on Tuesday was a nice morning out for the mare.

“She breezed over half-a-mile (800m) and quickened up the last bit,” Ellerton said.

“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.”

Heatherly’s poor barrier manners were on display in last year’s McEwen Stakes when she was beaten into third place behind Wild Rain as the short-priced favourite.

“On her best behaviour she’ll be hard to beat,” Ellerton said.

“She’s wound up enough and the run will improve her but she’s got the miles in the legs for Saturday.

“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.”

Heatherly ran second to Extreme Choice in last year’s Moir, one of two placings the mare has had at Group One level.

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