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Heathcote fined $500 for comments

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Brisbane’s leading trainer Robert Heathcote left Racing Queensland Deagon’s offices fuming after being fined $500 relating to comments he made in his weekly blog.

Robert Heathcote

Trainer Robert Heathcote and jockey Damian Browne celebrating one of Buffering's many wins. Photo by Taron Clarke.

Jockey Larry Cassidy took Heathcote to task relating to comments he made about the top jockey for his aggressive ride on the Tony Gollan trained Listen Son after putting pressure on Heathcote’s Buffering in the early and middle stages of the Group 2 $175,000 Coca-Cola Victory Stakes (1200m) at Doomben on April 27.

Buffering who was ridden by Damien Browne, went on to an easy win while Listen Son faded to finish fourth in the seven horse field which led Heathcote to write “Buffering got well softened up by Cassidy on Listen Son as we expected him to and Buff’s class just shone through in the end.”

Heathcote also said in the blog that “Nice to get one over Cassidy and my colleague Tony Gollan but, rest assured, the square up may come down the track somewhere.”

Racing Queensland Stewards deemed the comments were conduct prejudicial to the image of racing and fined the premier trainer $500.

It is well documented that there is no love lost between Cassidy and Heathcote after the experienced jockey was sacked as the stable’s number one jockey almost two years ago.

Heathcote said immediately after the inquiry concluded that he would have to review his media commitments and that he wouldn’t post any more blogs.

”For the amount of time I devote to the industry, aside from my own business, that is what has upset me the most to have to face this charge,” Heathcote said.

”The offending blog is something I write as a courtesy to a good friend, to bring as much information to the public as I can.

”That will now be my last blog.

”I will also review my obligations with regard to the media.”

Chief Steward Wade Birch acknowledged Heathcote’s input and commitment to the Queensland Racing Industry but went on to say his comments were unacceptable in the circumstances.

“You are a good ambassador for the sport of racing .. but we feel you have let yourself down,” Birch said.

Heathcote will be back in business on Saturday at Eagle Farm when he saddles up Buffering in the Group 1 $400,000 Bundaberg Distilling Co. BTC Cup (1200m) with the five year old looking for his first Group 1 success after being placed in that company on seven occasions, including placings behind the two best sprinters in the country, Black Caviar and Hay List.

Buffering was pre post favourite for this race last year but had to be scratched after developing a foot injury and will again be sent out the top pick on his Victory Stakes win.

In early markets Buffering is heading the list at $2.80 with last year’s winner Sea Siren the second pick at $4.20.

All Aged Stakes runner-up Rain Affair is at $4.80 while local three year old Better Than Ready is also in the betting at $5.

About The Author

Mark Mazzaglia

Mark is a passionate journalist with a life-time involvement in the racing industry. He spent many years as an analyst and form expert at the Courier Mail and also has hands-on experience working with some of Queensland’s top trainers.

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