Rob Heathcote’s veteran seven-year-old sprinter Woorim put in a pleasing track gallop between races in Brisbane on the weekend showing they were on track for a title defense in the 2013 Oakleigh Plate at the end of the month.
The Show A Heart gelding broke Heathcote’s Group 1 duck first-up last Melbourne Autumn Racing Carnival scoring a devastatingly close upset in the $400,000 Oakleigh Plate (1100m) at Caulfield Racecourse on Blue Diamond Stakes Day as a $20 outsider.
While they have failed to win a race since, Heathcote is hopeful they can regain form this time in as they look to become the first back-to-back Oakleigh Plate winner since Dual Choice (1971-72).
A dismal winter campaign at home ended on May 26 when Woorim finished a well-beaten 10th to Sea Siren in the Group 1 Doomben 10,000 (1350m) and they have been in the paddock since.
On Saturday however Heathcote gave the galloper his first public appearance for the year with the horse’s regular race day jockey Damian Browne, booked for the Oakleigh Plate 2013 on February 23, in the saddle for a strong 800m exhibition hit-out at Doomben alongside stablemate St Andrews.
Heathcote was thrilled with the way Woorm hit the line in with the final 600m completed in 34.18 seconds, the horse reeling off brilliant sectionals throughout with times of 22.25 (400m) and 11.13 (200m).
“I was happy with that because he needed a good hitout and I asked the boys to roll from the 1000 metres and quicken a second every furlong (200m) and give him a good solid last 400 (metres),” Heathcote said.
It has been a long few months getting Woorim back up to race fitness after they suffered a tendon injury which ruled them out of the entire spring carnival.
“We’ve given him a long spell and with horses of his age when they have injuries it can be a blessing to have that time off,” Heathcote said.
“It gives them rehabilitation time as well for other problems and this horse has had hoof issues all his life but his feet are as healthy as we’ve had them in twelve months.”
To follow Woorim throughout their upcoming autumn preparation stay tuned to Races.com.au.
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