Eleonora on target for Sydney

Eleonora (Danielle Johnson) picking up her third win from 10 starts when beating Dreamcrafter at Ellerslie yesterday.

Eleonora (Danielle Johnson) picking up her third win from 10 starts when beating Dreamcrafter at Ellerslie yesterday.

Eleonora put her right forward in her campaign aimed at the Gr.1 Australian Oaks early next month when winning the Gr.3 McKee Family Sunline Vase at Ellerslie yesterday.

It was the Makfi filly’s first win since she took the Gr.3 Ethereal Stakes (2000m) at Caulfield last October and she also passed the right-handed test in her third start racing clock-wise.

Her first start right-handed was 11 months ago when she finished second behind Astara in the Listed Champagne Stakes (1600m) at Ellerslie and she returned to Ellerslie last month for her fresh-up run over 1500 metres and again had to settle for second.

Trainers Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman were pleased with that fresh-up run and were expecting a winning run yesterday, as were punters who backed the VRC Crown Oaks third-placegetter into cramped odds.

“I thought it was very good,” said Forsman referring to Eleonora’s second behind Gravano. “Obviously it’s hard for a three-year-old filly to do that against open-class horses.

“She was always going to improve with that run, too, being 1500 on a testing track.”

Again ridden by Danielle Johnson, Eleonora bounced out well yesterday and disputed the early pace before settling into second on the outer, a position she held to the home turn.

On straightening she challenged and soon took the lead and, though pressured hard by a few rivals, she responded well to kick away over the final 50 metres to win the 2100-metre event by three-quarters of a length from Dreamcrafter.

“It was a tough win,” said Johnson after the race. “I thought I was going to get collared but she was too good. It was a great training effort to get her up to win today.”