The countdown to the Sydney Spring Racing...
The Robert Heathcote trained Excellantes will not head to Melbourne for the spring racing carnival, despite a dominant win at Doomben on the weekend.
Excellantes started as a odds on favourite in the Jim Beam Handicap over 1110m, and jockey Damien Browne rode the young gelding like the best horse in the race to beat home Startsmeup and The Ringmaster.
Before Saturday’s race, Heathcote was confident that he would take Excellantes to Melbourne for the spring carnival if he performed well. However despite his impressive win, it seems Heathcote will give the horse a break rather than asking him to have a short spell and then a tough spring campaign.
“I really think there’s a good race for him down south but time may have caught up with him this campaign and next year might be best,” Heathcote said.
“It’s the sign of a good horse when you see them let down like he did in the last 200 meters.
“He’s done a very good job this campaign. He is a horse that just keeps improving and I think next campaign we will see a very smart sprinter.”
Heathcote also praised the riding skills of Damien Browne, who produced a perfectly timed run aboard the three year old.
“Damien’s middle name is confidence, that’s why I like him so much,” he said.
Excellantes’ record now stands at 10 starts for five wins, three seconds and a third. The only time the talented gelding has missed the placing’s was in the Gold Coast Guineas, which was taken out by Military Rose.
Excellantes’ win bought up a treble for the Heathcote stable on Saturday with Simmering and Solzhenitsyn also saluting the judge.
Simmering jumped as favourite in the 2020m Coca Cola Handicap before being eased home by jockey Jim Byrne. Following the race, Heathcote said that he was hoping that Simmering could fully mature by next year.
“He’s been racing over the winter months and is probably close to a break. I think he has a real future and perhaps the winter carnival next year will be his time to shine,” he said.
“I actually thought he was my Queensland Derby horse this year but he had a setback and I couldn’t get him to the longer races until now.”
Solzhenitsyn also saluted for Heathcote in the Eagle Boys Handicap over 1350m. While he did produce an eye-catching turn off foot to win the race, Heathcote is firmly of the opinion that we will not see the best of Solzhenitsyn until he steps out to a longer trip.
Saturday’s treble saw Heathcote move 58.5 wins for the season. That is an amazing 26.5 more than John Thompson and Liam Birchley, who are tied for second in the Brisbane trainer’s premiership
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