Premier Brisbane horseman Rob Heathcote will put the 2012 Magic Millions Cup claims of his smart four-year-old Excellantes on the line at Doomben this Saturday when the galloper lines up in the 2011 Lough Neagh Stakes.
One of 17 nominees for the $200,000 Listed Lough Neagh Stakes (1350m) this Saturday, Falvelon gelding Excellantes will earn a shot at glory on the Gold Coast at next month’s BMW Magic Millions Race Day with a good run in the second leg of the Doomben Summer Series.
Heathcote has the $400,000 Magic Millions Cup (1400m) earmarked for Excellantes on January 14, but they must first prove themselves on the weekend.
“Hopefully if Excellantes runs well in the Lough Neagh Stakes on Saturday he’ll be my Magic Millions Cup runner,” Heathctoe said.
Excellantes has been in fine form this season with two first-up seconds, including a nose away loss to Listen Son in the Listed Keith Noud Quality (1200m), before their last-start fourth when beaten three lengths by Adebisi in the Group 3 George Moore Stakes (1200m) on a Slow (7) Doomben course on December 20.
They will face a similar field of rivals on Saturday should they accept for the Lough Neagh including George Moore Stakes winner Adebisi and the third-placed Spirit Of Boom.
Many of the Lough Neagh Stakes runners are using the race as an indicator of their Magic Millions Cup 2012 potential including last-start Listed Travel Associates Classic (1200m) winner Zero Rock.
Kelso Wood’s classy Danzero mare, winner of the Lough Neagh 12 months ago, is back to defend her title on Saturday and has been allocated the 58kg top weight, three kilos more than she carried to victory in the race last year before going on to run a close second to Bold Glance in this year’s Magic Millions Cup.
Meanwhile, Heathcote is sweating on the Wednesday race performance of Sons Of God to see if they could be progressive enough to line up in the 2012 Magic Millions Country Cup field on January 14.
“We were thinking of setting Sons Of God for the Magic Millions Cup but he’s not advanced enough and it’s going to be a very hot race,” Heathcote said.
“Sons Of God is eligible for the Magic Millions Country Cup and that’s the race we’ve picked out for him.”
The God’s Own four-year-old came off a seven month spell to win first-up over 1200 metres on a Heavy (8) Eagle Farm track on December 7, which was their first appearance since a gelding operation and their first run for Heathcote having previously been prepared in Victoria by Dan O’Sullivan.
Sons Of God will seek their second for the season at Eagle Farm on Wednesday lining up in the $13,000 Www.BRC.Com.Au Handicap (1200m).
“He’ll be very competitive even though it’s a very strong Class Three for a midweek race,” Heathcote said.
“His win on a heavy track was very good first-up and I’ve been very happy with his work since.
“It will be interesting to see how he handles a dry track this time.”
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