Although Neighbourhood was a late nomination for the Standish Handicap her trainer Enver Jusufovic doesn’t believe she’s going to be late to the party.
Jusufovic said that Neighbourhood’s track-work and condition led him to the late change of plans and she was capable of winning despite the race being an after-thought.
The Cranbourne trainer had her in work and was aiming her at the Bow Mistress Stakes at Elwick on February 7.
Jusufovic was swayed by her work on Tuesday that Neighbourhood was ready for the Standish Handicap.
The five-year-old mare had two starts during spring for a first-up fourth in the Group 2 Linlithgow Stakes at Flemington over 1200m and then a third in the Group 3 Kevin Heffernan Stakes at Sandown Hillside over 1300 metres, with each race won by Kemalpasa.
Jusufovic was buoyed by her Flemington performance which suggested to him she was suited by the straight.
“That was her first run down the straight and she handled it really well. She also had to overcome barrier one and not too many horses win from that barrier down the straight,” Jusufovic said.
The Cranbourne trainer said significantly for him Neighbourhood raced more tractably than she had in the past at her two runs over spring.
He said throughout her career Neighbourhood had a tendency to get on her wrong leg at the finish of the race and would not change from it.
“I’ve spent a lot of time training her to change from that trait and at her last two runs Michael Dee said she had,” he said.
Although she is a five-year-old Neighbourhood has been sparingly raced having had only 12 starts where she has won four of them.
“I think she’s finally matured and is starting to come into her own,” he said.
Jusufovic said as Neighbourhood wasn’t in the original nominations, Dee had taken the ride on William Thomas and Daniel Moor would ride her.
“She races best when she’s fresh and the tempo is on,” he said.
Neighbourhood is a $17 chance with TAB fixed odds.