Top Queensland trainer Robert Heathcote has a program full of winning chances at Doomben Racecourse today, with a horse in almost every race.
This year has already been one of Heathcote’s most successful winter carnivals yet.
“It has been a good carnival for us,” Heathcote said.
“I planned to have the bulk of my quality runners in the stable peaking at this time.”
Despite the shock scratching of favourite Hay List in the $650,000 Doomben 10,000, Heathcote still realises winning will be a hard task up against such a talented field.
“He has gone good, I am very happy with the horse,” Heathcote said.
“At the end of the day I am under no illusions how hard this is going to be.
“Beaded, Love Conquers All and Border Rebel- they are all very, very good horses.
“My blokes grand final fair to say is The Stradbroke.
“Anything he does here will just be a bonus.”
This will be Buffering’s first attempt at the 1,350 metre distance.
“A good solid run over the 1350m for the first time is what I’m hoping to see because he has never more than 1200m in his life,” Heathcote said yesterday.
“Really all I need to see tomorrow is him run in the first four.
“If he can do that I would see it as mission accomplished for tomorrow.”
Heathcote will saddle up three-year-old Fillydelphia in the Group 3 Grand Prix Stakes in Race 5.
The filly won the Rough Habit Plate at Doomben on May 14.
“Up until the Rough Habit Plate nothing had gone to plan,” Heathcote said.
“Her previous three races she featured extensively in the stewards reports.
“I made two big changes, I took the blinkers off of her and I also changed the jockey.
“(Jockey) Larry Cassidy goes back on her which tells you I didn’t really blame the jockey for the lack of luck of good fortune she had.
The trainer is confident that it was the addition of blinkers to her gear that made the winning difference.
“I really believe it was the blinkers which helped and she just needed to get her confidence back up.”
Fillydelphia will have to contend with a wide barrier of 14 in today’s Grand Prix Stakes.
“It is a horrible barrier,” Heathcote said.
“Larry (Cassidy) will just have to come out and have a bit of a peek and just try and ride her a bit for luck.
“We’ve got to try and get in, if we get caught three deep we can’t win, it is as simple as that.
“Three deep with cover however, then maybe we are a chance.
“As you saw with Chateau Fort it was a good run in the Rough Habit Plate but the horse had no luck and got caught deep.
“That could happen to us.”
Heathcote is still trying to decide whether to send Fillydelphia to the Group 1 Queensland Oaks on June 4 or the Group 1 Queensland Derby on June 11.
“I still have half an eye on the Derby,” Heathcote said.
“If she was to beat the colts and geldings tomorrow and she was to beat them like she did in the Rough Habit Plate, I may decide to miss the Oaks and go straight to the Derby.
“The fillies get a two kilo allowance off the colts and geldings and that is a huge advantage and I don’t think there is that much difference between them, not as much as two kilos anyway.”
Heathcote is also equally excited about the prospects of Work The Room, who will compete in Race 2 today.
“Work The Room in Race 2 is an exciting horse,” Heathcote said.
“He had the one start here for me the other week.
“He was desperately unlucky.
“He ran third (but) he made a blinding run from last.
“I’m stepping him to the mile second up which raises eyebrows, not a lot of horses do that successfully but this is a half-brother to Zipping and he is a very, very good horse.”
Heathcote’s Gundy Son is one of the favourites to take out the Listed Chief De Beers Handicap today after finishing second in the Doomben Dash last start.
“It was an enormous run,” Heathcote said.
“I always knew the 1000m would be too short.
“That proved to be correct as another three strides and he wins the race.”
The trainer believes Gundy Son may need further still after today’s race.
“1100m I still think is a shade on the short side for him.
“I’ve endeavoured to keep him as fresh as I can.
“Certainly 1100m gives us a shade more opportunity to run Carry The Clubs (who beat Gundy Son last start) down who I think will lead.”