Eagle Farm horseman Robert Heathcote has named the 2011 Emirates Stakes held at Flemington’s Melbourne Cup Carnival this November as the main spring aim for his Show A Heart gelding Woorim.
Six-year-old Woorim, a winner of eight of their 30 race starts to date, showed plenty of potential during the winter and has earned a trip to Victoria for the spring along with stablemate Buffering.
Woorim broke their Group duck with a victory in the Group 3 BRC Sprint (1350m) in May before finishing seventh to Sincero in the Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m).
They were last seen winning the Listed Glasshouse Handicap (1400m) at Caloundra on July 2, Woorim set to fly to Melbourne next Monday.
Heathcote confirmed that the $1 million Group 1 Emirates Stakes (1600m) at Flemington on Saturday November 5 would be Woorim’s grand final this preparation.
This will be the second interstate trip for Woorim, Heathcote having taken them down for the spring last year where Woorim raced five times.
Their best performance was a close third, beaten only half a length by Response in the Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield last September.
To date that is the closest Heathcote has come to taking out an elite level, which he hopes to change this spring carnival.
Woorim will kick-off his Emirates Stakes campaign in a 1200 metre open-handicap at Moonee Valley Saturday week, September 10, after original plans for them to return at Doomben last Saturday were shelved with the abandonment of the last two races on the programme.
“It hasn’t massively upset my plans with Woorim,” Heathcote said of the delay.
While Woorim is rated as Heathcote’s best chance of winning a spring Group One, there will also be plenty of attention on fellow Melbourne-bound Buffering.
The Mossman four-year-old was another strong performer for Heathcote during the Brisbane Winter Carnival.
Buffering started five times last season highlights including his win in the Group 2 Victory Stakes (1200m), his third to superstar Black Caviar in the Group 1 BTC Cup (1200m) and fourth place finish in the Stradbroke.
After a solid workout on the course proper at Doomben on Tuesday morning, Heathcote confirmed that Buffering would wear blinkers throughout his spring assault and that both he too would resume Saturday week once in Melbourne.
Heathcote named the $200,000 Group 3 McEwen Stakes (1000m) the Valley as Buffering’s first-up assignment, for which he will be ridden by Sunshine Coast-based hoop Damian Browne.
Browne is yet to ride Buffering under race conditions but was aboard Woorim, who he will also ride first-up, for four of their winter starts.
“I put blinkers on Buffering for the first time and he went awesome,” Heathcote said on Tuesday.
“I’ve always wanted to try blinkers on him and he’ll wear them in his first run in Melbourne in the McEwen Stakes.”
A possible showdown with the likes of Peter Snowden’s Golden Slipper winning colt Sepoy and Gai Waterhouse’s glamour mare More Joyous in the $500,000 Group 1 Manikato Stakes (1200m) on September 30 at Moonee Valley is also on the cards for Buffering.
“I know he could be taking on horses like Sepoy and More Joyous but he’s a Group Two winner who deserves his opportunity,” Heathcote said.
In futures Mankiato Stakes 2011 betting Buffering is rated a $31 chance.
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