07/18/2001 11:00PM

Try and catch 'Brighton'

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EDMONTON, Alberta - The $30,000 Northlands Oaks for 3-year-old fillies takes place Friday, and trainer Rod Heggie is hoping that Brighton Belle will pick up where she left off after winning the Chariot Chaser here June 30.

Brighton Belle, an Alberta-bred, took the lead out of the gate and made the rest of the field play catch-up in the 6 1/2-furlong Chariot Chaser. Heggie said jockey Chris McGregor plans to employ the same strategy in Friday's one-mile Northland Oaks, in which Brighton Belle will begin from post 6.

"No question, we intend to get out front early and let the rest try to catch her," said Heggie. "There are at least four or five other horses who could win this race, so we want to dictate the pace."

After going undefeated in two starts as a 2-year-old, Brighton Belle started her 2001 season with a win in Stampede Park's six-furlong Mount Royal. But in her next start, the one-mile Lilac, she tired badly and was eased by McGregor, finishing almost 30 lengths behind the winner.

Heggie said it will be interesting to see how Brighton Belle fares as she moves back out to a mile Friday.

"Obviously we hope she can handle the distance, and if she can we'll point her towards the Sonoma and the Alberta Fall Classic," he said, referring to an upcoming pair of 1 1/16-mile stakes here.

"She was able to win at a mile in the Sturgeon River last year, but that was against Alberta-breds, so we don't know if she can handle the distance or if she was just the best of a questionable bunch that day."