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Wide-gate no worry for SA staying filly

Wide gate, no worry.

That’s Murray Bridge horseman Mick Huxtable’s assessment of local filly Ecumenical ahead of Saturday’s $502,250 Australasian Oaks (2000m) at Morphettville on Saturday.

Ecumenical will have just two horses on her outside when the barriers are released and is marked a $23 chance with with Victorian filly Steinem a $4.20 favourite for the three-year-old Group 1 fillies feature.

“It’s not the best barrier, but it’s not the end of the world,” Huxtable said.

“She won the Clare Lindop (Stakes) from a wide gate, hopefully she can do it again.”

Ecumenical comes off a game run in the Group 3 Auraria Stakes behind Tyche Goddess last time out after she put in an uncharacteristic shocker in the Port Adelaide Guineas.

Jockey Jessica Eaton said the filly didn’t enjoy drawing an inside gate and being crowded by horses while Huxtable put the disappointing effort down to a lack of concentration.

“She was a bit slack without the blinkers,” Huxtable said.

“We put them back on last start and she jumped into the race.

“And I couldn’t be happier with her, she’s trained on beautifully since.”

Stepping out to in distance to the 2000m also holds now fears for Huxtable and he said they might try and take luck out of equation and chance their arm early.

“The dam side has staying pedigree all through it, so the trip shouldn’t be a worry,” Huxtable said.

“I’d be inclined to think we might roll forward and then just play it by ear.”

Huxtable was quick to point out a favourable draw was the key to favourite Steinem’s chances while he said Tasmanian filly Hela had to be respected given she’s won all seven starts for trainer Scott Brunton.

“(Steinem) is going to have all the favours from the inside this time,” Huxtable said.

“And there is a bit of hype around the Tasmanian filly, but they’re all there to be beaten.”

Ecumenical will be trying to continue the amazing season for Eaton since calling SA home at what will be her first Group 1 ride.

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