By Bridget Wright Courtesy of www.races.com.au
Five-year-old Lady Echelon is set to atone for a disappointing spring carnival when she returns to Doomben Racecourse on Saturday, where she scored four runner-up finishes during the winter. Lady Echelon travelled to Melbourne in October along with stable mate River Lad but couldn’t replicate the success she had one month earlier in the Business Success Group Handicap (1350m) in Brisbane.
The mare finished dead last in the Group 3 Ladies Day Vase (1600m) first up, running wide throughout the whole race, before failing to place in a greys benchmark 90 over 1400 metres on Crown Oaks Day in November.
However, the mare’s trainer Natalie McCall isn’t concerned with her form down south believing Lady Echelon has a lot going for her in the Listed Recognition Stakes (1630m), where she can make amends for her recent form.
“She was beaten long way at Caulfield [in the Vase] after the jockey virtually sat up on her in the straight,” McCall told Sky Racing.
“We raced her straight around to the vet to be scoped and checked over. He asked us which race she had been in.
“When we told him the race just gone he was surprised to say the least as there was nothing wrong with her.
“To say she was unlucky [on Oaks Day] was a bit of an understatement. I thought she should have won and so did the jockey (Mark Zahra).
“But you can’t change things in the past. At least we got a good line through the form from the run because Liam’s horse (Birchley, trainer) Time To Plunder was second in the greys race.”
Time To Plunder then returned to Brisbane for the Listed Keith Noud Quality (1200m) on Saturday, which he won very well.
Brisbane recorded its share of rainfall on Wednesday morning with more scheduled to fall before Saturday’s race. This is not an issue for McCall since five of Lady Echelon’s wins have been in rain-affected going.
“We’ve had some rain and more is predicted so that won’t be worrying us. She handles up to heavy but the sting out of the ground is a help for her,” she said.
The mare also loves the mile trip at Doomben, winning twice and placing three times over the 1600m distance so her chances at winning the 2014 Recognition Stakes are good.
She will jump from the middle of the field in barrier seven with experienced hoop Jeff Lloyd in the saddle.