Neighbourhood looking to break drought at Flemington

The chase of obtaining black type for the Enver Jusufovic-trained Neighbourhood has come at the expense of not winning a race in just shy of two years.

Jusufovic hopes to right that wrong when Neighbourhood runs in the Kennedy Handicap (1400m) at Flemington on Saturday.

Neighbourhood went on a three-run winning spree through November and December in 2019 and has not been successful in 10 starts since her last win on Boxing Day at Caulfield of that year.

Seven of those starts have been in ‘black type’ races, registering only one place, a third behind Kemalpasa in the Group 3 Kevin Heffernan Stakes (1300m) at Sandown in November last year.

However, she was not far from the money in her other starts and consistently maintained her rating.

“The plan was to chase black type, but you end up between a rock and a hard place,” Jusufovic said.

“You want to win and get that on your resume and get penalised accordingly, but if you place you still get penalised, and she’s paid for it by being consistent.”

Neighbourhood has had two runs back from a spell finishing fifth at Ballarat on November 20 before running fifth at Pakenham two weeks later, both times over 1200m.

“I think her two runs this time in have been encouraging,” Jusufovic said.

“She didn’t finish too far behind them at Ballarat, and I think her closing sectionals at Pakenham were quite good.

“She galloped on Tuesday here (Cranbourne) on the grass. It was a very good gallop, and she ran her last 400 metres in a tick over 23 (seconds) and on the bridle.

“I don’t know if she’s at peak fitness, but she’s nearing peak fitness and I expect her to run well.”

Depending on Saturday’s performance, Jusufovic said Neighbourhood may return to Flemington New Year’s Day for a tilt at the Listed Chester Manifold Stakes (1400m)

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