Heathcote Looking South With Excellantes

Promising three year old Excellantes could be headed for the Melbourne spring carnival if he can win at Doomben on Saturday.

The talented three year old, who is trained by Robert Heathcote, has had two runs since returning from a spell and has been impressive on both occasions.

First up he finished second in a three year old handicap at Doomben, despite giving the winner three and a half kilos at the weights. Then at his last start he showed an excellent turn of foot to beat home well credentialed three year olds Spirit of Boom, Adebisi and Pyrography.

“I was really impressed with Excellantes win last start which came off a hot speed and if he takes the next step I might send him to Melbourne,” said trainer Robert Heathcote.

“I was going to run him against Essington in the Ascot last week but I thought he’s got plenty of time next season to running in opening company.”

Heathcote has again opted for Damien Browne in the saddle, after the local hoop produced an excellent ride on the gelding last start.

“Damien’s win last start on Excellantes was brilliant. He’s a super jockey and I’ve liked him from the first day he came over from New Zealand a few years ago,” he said.

Excellantes seems to have the class edge in Saturday’s race, however he will need to contend with the 58kg assigned to him by the handicapper. The minimum in the race is just 53kg, so he will again be giving weight to most of the field.

If Excellantes is successful on the weekend it will be his fourth win in a QTIS bonus race.

After lobbying from the Queensland Race Horse Owners Association, Queensland Racing will review the scheme that sees QTIS registered horses receive more prize money when they win selected races.

“I’ve been a massive supporter of the QTIS scheme and I just hope they don’t go ahead with any haircut of the scheme,” Heathcote said.

“It’s been a highly successful scheme and I wouldn’t like to see it or the QTIS 600 scheme changed in any way.”

Heathcote is also on the brink of winning his third successive Brisbane trainer’s premiership. With 55.5 wins for the season, Heathcote sits well clear of John Thompson and Liam Birchley who are currently tied for second with 32 wins apiece.

“To win the title for a third straight time is a great achievement and we’re rapt,” Heathcote said.

“The stable has been very consistent over the last few years and we’re hopeful of being competitive again next season.”

Despite his three successive trainers premierships, Heathcote is yet to taste success in a Group One race.

He may get the chance in the Melbourne spring carnival, where he has committed to sending around seven horses.

Buffering, Woorim, Funtantes and now possibly Excellantes could all find themselves in feature races this spring.