Luke Fernie has earmarked WA’s richest country race as the starting point for Laced Up Heels and the top young trainer is confident the quality mare can return to the same level that had her defeat gun mare Amelia’s Jewel in 2022.
Laced Up Heels, absent from the races since last year’s failed interstate campaign, will look to bounce back and reassert her authority at home again when she resumes in the $350,000 Bluff Knoll (1099m) at Albany on March 10.
Fernie took Laced Up Heels to Melbourne full of genuine hope and expectation after she flew home to inflict the first loss on Group 1 champion Amelia’s Jewel in the Listed Burgess Queen Stakes (1400m) at Ascot two years ago.
The daughter of Toronado had six goes in Melbourne, kicking off for Fernie before transferring to Mick Price and Michael Kent Jnr and aside from a fourth in the G2 Armanasco (1400m) at Sandown, she couldn’t get lose to them.
But Fernie, building a impressive racing CV in recent months, shrugged off the setback and believes Laced Up Heels, having benefited from an extended break and back in familiar surroundings, is primed to stamp her class in the Great Southern.
“She is flying and it’s amazing how she’s responded to the break and being home, Fernie told The Races WA.
“We were a bit downcast after Melbourne but everyone has done an unbelievable job to get her back happy, both physically and mentally.
“She’s put on weight since Melbourne and is at least 40 to 50kg heavier, she’s looking like a colt.
“She’s back to the same horse that we had before Melbourne and I couldn’t be happier.
“We’ve taken our time with her and she’s responded, it’s been stress free in my mind.
“She races well fresh and with that in mind she will more than likely have one trial and go to the Bluff Knoll first up.
“She’s a very good horse, but there are no plans, we’ll get the first one out of the way first.”
Laced Up Heels was locked in for the inaugural Wellington & Reeves Bluff Knoll after Delta Agribusiness snapped up the mare with their slot.
Mitchell Pateman’s Songaa, the Dion Luciani-trained My Bella Mae, Melbourne Listed winner, Acromantula and Strathmore Rose were other Bluff Knoll slot holders announced by the Albany Racing Club today (Tuesday).