Robert Heathcote has been happy with the form of Olympic Anthem, but the leading Queensland trainer believes that the promising gelding will need plenty of luck in the Cooney Handicap at Ipswich on Saturday after drawing barrier 16.
Olympic Anthem started his autumn campaign with a win in the Goulburn Valley Handicap (1030m) at Doomben on April 2 and finished second behind the talented Rudy in the Goulburn Valley Plate (1350m) at the same venue on April 12 before making his debut at Group level with a fair fourth in the Group 3 Gunsynd Classic (1600m) at Eagle Farm on April 26.
The Starcraft gelding was caught wide and had no luck when 11th in the Group 3 Fred Best Classic (1350m) at Doomben on May 17, but flashed home late to finish a narrow fourth behind Sir Moments in the Group 2 Queensland Guineas (1400m) at Eagle Farm on May 31.
Heathcote told Racing Ahead that he was delighted with the performance of Olympic Anthem in the Queensland Guineas and thinks that the Cooney Handicap is a nice race for the three-year-old, but believes the wide draw has significantly affected the gelding’s chances in the event.
“I’ll be communicating with (owners) the China Horse Club officials later, but at this stage he will be running,” Heathcote said.
“He has a horrible barrier, but it was a super run in the Queensland Guineas; he got beaten a head and I came down thinking we might have been in a photo for first or second and we finished fourth so that is how close the finish was.
“Sir Moments was just brilliant and he has come out and franked that form.
“I spoke to Michael Cahill yesterday and he is a talented rider and he knows the Ipswich track well.
“I think that he is only ten to one due to the barrier and if he had been drawn inside of five he would be favourite.
“The horse is certainly going well.”
Despite the wide barrier draw, Olympic Anthem has been one of the best-backed runners in 2014 Cooney Handicap betting markets and is now into a quote of $5.50 after opening at double figures odds.
Olympic Anthem is locked in a battle for favouritism with top-weight Architect ($5.50), while there has also been support for last start winner Walkin’ Tall ($6.50) and L’Entrecote ($7).