Uncertainty surrounding the Randwick Guineas meeting in Sydney because of wet weather has prompted connections of quality sprinter Heatherly to keep her in Melbourne for a Listed race on her home track.
The Challenge Stakes was initially the plan but Heatherly was scratched from the Sydney race on Thursday and is now the $2.05 favourite with Luxbet for the Flemington 1000m event which has a field of seven.
“We just couldn’t take the risk,” co-trainer Simon Zahra said.
“We were not worried about whether it’s wet, it was just whether they were going to run the meeting.
“We decided we’d just keep her at home and we’ll see how we go.”
Zahra said Heatherly had galloped three times in the clockwise direction with a view to the Challenge Stakes.
“We thought we’d go to Sydney and run in that race and then go back for The Galaxy,” Zahra said.
“But we’ll run here on Saturday then probably go to The Galaxy.”
The Galaxy will be a chance for Heatherly to snare an important Group One win.
She has won at Group Two level in last year’s Rubiton Stakes as well as being Group One-placed in the 2016 Oakleigh Plate and Moir Stakes.
The Galaxy (1100m) is on March 18 at Rosehill and auction house Inglis announced on Friday the mare had been entered for its Chairman’s Sale Session II in Sydney on April 7.
Heatherly finished sixth in the Group One Lightning Stakes (1000m) at Flemington first-up last Saturday week in a race marred by three scratchings at the barriers after The Quarterback became cast in the gates.
Zahra said Heatherly was also stirred up in the stalls and fought jockey Damian Lane during parts of the race.
He believes the mare will strip a lot fitter for Saturday.
“She has tightened up nicely,” Zahra said.
“It looks a good race for her. Hopefully she gets in a nicer rhythm than she did first-up and hopefully she gets the job done.”