Heathcote’s Dry Winter Hopes

By: Sarah Fortnum
April 29th, 2011

Top Brisbane trainer Robert Heathcote is watching the weather closely and hoping the rain will ease in time for the upcoming winter carnival.

Some of Heathcote’s best carnival chances will begin their campaigns this weekend in the Group 2 Victory Stakes at Eagle Farm.

Two of the trainer’s best performers, Buffering and Woorim, are among the seven runners taking to the field in the first day of the long anticipated winter carnival.

With sunny skies displayed across Brisbane today, Heathcote is hoping this dry weather can continue.

“I just want the rain we’ve been having to stop,” Heathcote said.

Heathcote understands his chances will be affected should more rain fall on the already wet track.

“The rain pretty much rules out Woorim’s chances but Buffering can handle it,” Heathcote said.

“But so too can Zero Rock and Atomic Force who has a massive advantage on a heavy track the way he won the Galaxy on a heavy track last time.”

Buffering’s preparation will be getting back on track in Saturday’s race after the three-year-old suffered a stone bruise earlier in the month.

Heathcote is confident that the horse has recovered well from the injury.

“I reckon he’s over the recent setback but it’s never ideal running them first-up in this sort of going,” Heathcote said.

“His work on Saturday morning was first class and I was delighted with his work this morning.

“I expect him to be competitive but he’ll improve a lot after this run.”

Heathcote will use this weekend’s race to gage whether or not Buffering is ready to fight it out with super mare Black Caviar when she arrives in Brisbane for the $400,000 BTC Cup.

“If he runs a blinder I’ll consider lining up against Black Caviar next time,” he said.

“But I do mean just lining up against her. I don’t expect him to beat her.

“Saturday’s race is a ballot-free race into the Stradbroke Handicap so if he happened to win then the Stradbroke would be his primary goal.”

Heathcote is equally impressed with his other winter hopeful, Woorim, also seeing him as a possible Stradbroke Handicap runner later in the carnival.

“His first-up run was sensational when he came from back in the field,” Heathcote said.

“He made up a stack of ground in a race not run to suit him.

“If he comes good he’s a genuine Stradbroke chance later on.”

Saturday’s weather in Brisbane is currently forecast for a mild and breezy day with a few showers.

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