Magnapal ready for Heatherlie defence

Trainer Terry O’Sullivan is confident Magnapal can register back-to-back wins in the Listed Heatherlie Stakes at Caulfield, believing the gelding is in superior form to a year ago.

After the 2015 Heatherlie, Magnapal went on to win the Naturalism Stakes at Caulfield which earned him a start in the Caulfield Cup in which he finished 14th.

The seven-year-old was beaten just over two lengths when eighth in the Group Two P B Lawrence Stakes (1400m) on August 13 at his second start from a long lay-off.

An ideal barrier draw has buoyed O’Sullivan’s confidence going into Saturday’s Heatherlie over 1700m.

“If anything I reckon he’s going a little bit better than last year,” O’Sullivan said.

“We thought he went great first-up even though he finished second last in the Bletchingly Stakes.

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“Then the other day he ran really well and we thought he was perhaps a little bit stiff he didn’t run third.

“Entirely Platinum sort of took his running and he had to ease a little bit then he hit the line really well.

“Now we’ve drawn barrier three in the Heatherlie, we’re pretty keen. We think he should be a great chance.”

Magnapal went into last year’s Heatherlie, which he won by 1-1/4 lengths, after a midweek win at Sandown.

His regular jockey Luke Currie has the ride again on Saturday with the field of 14 including Almoonqith, Provocative, Tall Ship, Berisha and Tom Melbourne.

O’Sullivan, who trains in partnership with his daughter Karina, said they would again head to the Naturalism Stakes after the Heatherlie, with the hope of making the Caulfield Cup field again.

“We hope to get in. If we can win the Naturalism again, we’ll be right,” O’Sullivan said.

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