Robert Heathcote happy with season

A decision to buy young horses bred on staying lines has helped trainer Robert Heathcote exceed his expectations for the racing season.

Heathcote finished 2014/15 season with 91 winners overall and 60 in the Brisbane metropolitan area earning $3.2 million prize money.

He finished second in the metropolitan premiership, third in the state and 16th in the national title race.

Heathcote said he was more than happy with his results given the closure of Eagle Farm for renovations had been detrimental to his team.

“I always thought this would be a tough season with Eagle Farm closed. My horses have always been better suited to Eagle Farm and the Sunshine Coast than to Doomben and Ipswich,” Heathcote said.

“So to get 91 wins overall, collect another Group One with Buffering in the Moir Stakes and have some really talented horses coming through made it all worthwhile.”

Heathcote went to New Zealand to buy staying bred horses and it turned out to be a smart move.

“I don’t keep those kinds of records but I am told I have had seven individual restricted class stayers win this year and, of course our open company bloke Volkhere, perform well,” he said.

Heathcote has high hopes for Kaiser Franz who will contest the Stanton Mienert Accountants Hcp (2200m) at Doomben on Saturday.

Kaiser Franz has won his past two starts including one over Saturday’s course and distance two weeks ago.

“He is eligible for easier races but I think he can take a step up,” Heathcote said.

“Also he isn’t very well off at the weights against some of these including Shotover River.

“In a genuine handicap race my bloke probably should have 51.5 kilograms but that’s just the way things are with a 54 (kg) minimum.”

Heathcote picked out the son of Savabeel before he went to the New Zealand yearling sales two years ago.

“But you wouldn’t believe it I was looking at another yearling when he went through the sale ring and missed him,” he said.

“I eventually got him for $85,000 in a private deal with the woman who originally bought him,” he recalled.

Meanwhile, Heathcote will back Jopa up in the Open Hcp (1200m) after the gelding failed in last week’s Anniversary Cup over 1400m at the Sunshine Coast.

“In hindsight we were asking a bit much of him,” Heathcote said.

“He was stepping up from 1000 to 1400 metres and he might have been too fresh as he almost led.”

“The 1200 metres is more suitable at this stage for him and then there is a 1350 metre race in a fortnight.”


Story courtesy Mark Oberhardt


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