Heatherly made light of pre-race concerns about the track to land Saturday’s Listed Carlyon Stakes (1000m) at Moonee Valley.

Heatherly was clear at the end of the Carlyon Stakes. Photo: Darryl Sherer
Connections had been watching the weather during the week, not wanting the track to deteriorate into the heavy range.

On the upgraded soft(5) surface Heatherly raced in second place on the outside of Passing Shot to the 600m where Damian Lane released the hand brake and Heatherly accelerated clear.

Although getting tired late, Heatherly ($2.90 fav) had enough in hand to defeat the fast-finishing Viddora ($5.50) by half a length with O’Malley ($9.50) a length further back in third.

Mathew Ellerton, who trains Heatherly in partnership with Simon Zahra, said the four-year-old daughter of Lonhro will improve for the race.

“She was a bit fidgety in the gates but she paced herself in the run and was good enough to get away with it,” Ellerton said.

“She was out on her feet a bit late but she will improve a lot for the run,”

Heatherly was racing for the first time since finishing third to Flamberge in the Group I Oakleigh Plate on February 27.

“I think she will improve with her racing – she had a long break from the autumn and that today will bring her on a lot,” Ellerton said.

“She’ll come back here in two weeks (Chandler Macleod Stakes) and then, hopefully, three weeks later for the Group One (Moir Stakes),

“She’s very quick and once she’s fit she pretty hard to pass.”

Damian Lane said the tempo of the race was not in his favour.

“They went slow through the first bit and she wasn’t happy,” Lane said. “I had to let her go sooner than I wanted but she had enough class to carry her through.”

The race lost some interest when Keen Array ($8.50) was a late scratching 15 minutes before the race suffering from colic.