Rob Heathcote’s breakthrough Group 1 winner Woorim has been ruled out of the Doncaster Mile 2012 after the six-year-old was found to be suffering from a minor infection.
Victorious in the Oakleigh Plate first-up at Caulfield in February, premier Brisbane horseman Heathcote’s maiden elite level success, Show A Heart gelding Woorim went on to run a credible fifth to Hay List in the Newmarket Handicap on March 10.
They then raced below par at their next two runs finishing dead last in both the William Reid Stakes at Moonee Valley on March 23 then last again when failing to beat home any of their 16 rivals in the George Ryder Stakes (1500m), won by Chris Waller’s rejuvenated galloper Metal Bender, at Rosehill last Saturday.
Their Golden Slipper Day failure had Heathcote investigate and Woorim, now residing back at Eagle Farm, was found to be suffering a low-grade infection.
“It’s not a serious infection and is only mild but it’s enough to rule him out of the Doncaster,” Heathcote said.
“We now believe he may have had it for the last couple of weeks.
“I had him scoped on Sunday and there was inflammation in his airways so we’ve decided to pull the pin on his program in Sydney.”
While the autumn is over for the $1 million earner who was targeting Saturday week’s $2 million Group 1 Doncaster Mile Handicap (1600m) at Randwick, Heathcote remains confident of a full recovery in time for the Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival.
Woorim was rated just an $81 chance in the Doncaster Mile futures betting at bookmaker.com.au.
Woorim’s main winter aim during the Queensland Festival of Racing will be the state’s richest race, the $1 million Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) at Eagle Farm on June 9.
“I’ll have a look at him in a couple of weeks during a break at Washpool Lodge and hopefully he can recover in time to run in the Doomben 10,000 and Stradbroke,” Heathcote said.
The $650,000 Group 1 Doomben 10,000 (1350m) runs at Doomben in the lead-up to the Stradbroke on May 26.
Woorim’s boom stablemate and Heathcote’s other headliner Buffering is also back in Brisbane resting up ahead of a Brisbane Winter Carnival assault.
Mossman four-year-old Buffering has run top three in his past four starts, all at Group 1 level, starting back in the spring when second behind the mighty Black Caviar in the Patinack Farm Classic (1200m) during Flemington’s Melbourne Cup Carnival.
This time in Buffering resumed with a third again to Black Caviar in the Lightning Stakes (100m) at Flemington followed by a devastatingly close second behind Hay List in the Newmarket and then third to Foxwedge in the William Reid Stakes at Moonee Valley on March 23.
Buffering’s main winter targets will be the $175,000 Group 2 Victory Stakes (1200m) at Eagle Farm on April 28 followed by the lucrative $400,000 Group 1 BTC Cup (1200m) at Doomben on March 12.
“Buffering worked well at Eagle Farm this morning and will run next in the Victory Stakes before the BTC Cup,” Heathcote said.
“I’m looking forward to it as he won’t be up against Black Caviar or Hay List this time.”
Buffering won the Victory Stakes first-up last winter before their third to Black Caviar in the 2011 BTC Cup.
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