Leading Brisbane trainer Robert Heathcote has still got his sights set high with Sea Red who is on a mission heading towards the Group 1 $400,000 Queensland Oaks (2400m) at Eagle Farm during the Brisbane Winter Carnival.
Sea Red was able to win her second race last Saturday with a four and three quarter lengths victory over 1350m in a lowly Class 1 at Doomben, but Heathcote is adamant the filly is good enough to be considered for an Oaks campaign.
Because of the Magic Millions Race Day on the Gold Coast last Saturday carrying metropolitan status, the meeting at Doomben was classified as provincial with Sea Red only picking up a winning cheque of $8,450.
With Saturday’s winnings, Sea Red has now earned a total of $20,500 which includes the $11,050 from her previous win plus a $1,000 for her third placing back in September.
But the premiership winning trainer says that he will be facing an uphill battle to earn enough prizemoney to secure a start in the Group 1 for the fillies if he continues to run Sea Red in Brisbane.
“I am sure it is one of the reason we struggle to win our own Oaks. The difference in prize money gives the southern horses a big advantage,” Heathcote told AAP.
“I have to qualify Sea Red now. By that I mean she has to get enough prize money now so she can even get in the Oaks field.”
Heathcote has been singing the praises of Sea Red since she broke her maiden status with a four and a half lengths win over 1350m in a Doomben Maiden in December.
Saturday’s winning rider Cassandra Schmidt agrees with Heathcote that the filly is above average and told the top trainer that the winning margin could have been greater.
Heathcote will be looking to give Sea Red a break before preparing her for the Winter Carnival but will have to select suitable races to help her gain enough prizemoney to force her way into the Queensland Oaks field.
“That can make a difference. We start off behind the eight-ball but I have made it very clear she is the best chance I have ever had of winning the Oaks,” Heathcote said.
One option is for Heathcote to kick off Sea Red’s campaign in Sydney and work through the classes where there is more prizemoney on offer with Sydney midweek races worth $23,025 to the winner.