The countdown to the Sydney Spring Racing...
A powerhouse performance by Robert Heathcote’s gallant galloper saw Work The Room score their maiden stakes success at Eagle Farm on Saturday in the Tattersall’s Mile.
Lightly-raced for a rising six-year-old, Bel Esprit gelding Work The Room ($7.50) lined up in just their 13th career race on Saturday and after a gutsy run was able to beat home the Alicia Willick-trained Silent Movie ($16) by a length while Alan Bailey’s Frozone ($6.50) finished a close third.
It was a disappointing Tattersall’s Mile result for the punters as short-priced favourite Mystical Grey could only manage to run a well-beaten eighth, but a brilliant outcome for back-to-back Brisbane Trainers Premiership winner Heathcote.
Having previously been prepared in Melbourne by Colin Little, Work The Room was transferred to Heathcote’s Brisbane stables earlier this year after overcoming injury.
Saturday was their fifth run for Heathcote and Work The Room’s first race victory since September last year at Sandown Hillside.
“He had dodgy feet and I think that might have affected his confidence,” Heathcote said of the horse’s earlier starts.
“I’m a big believer in horses needing to be happy to produce their best and we felt he had turned the corner in recent times.
“Look, this is a very good horse and I think a lot of people dropped off a bit too quickly.
“He had problems when he came here from Melbourne and it has been a matter of working the out.”
Heathcote’s patience and belief in Work The Room paid off with the sprinter-miler boosting their prize money to nearly $136,000 thanks to the $51,500 Tattersall’s Mile first prize.
“We had the option to run him in a Class 6 over 1800 metres earlier in the day but I suggested to connections we have a go at this Listed race worth a bit more money,” Heathcote explained.
“It was a big decision by the owners to send him here (to Brisbane) and I think it will prove the right move.
“I may push him out to 2100 metres in a couple of weeks now he has broken through and shown us what he is capable of.
“There is a 2100 metre Open Handicap here in a fortnight that will suite him.
“Melbourne is probably off the agenda at this stage because of the timing.
“But you can take it as read that there is a very good race in this horse.”
Work The Room was one of three Eagle Farm winners for Heathcote on the weekend after his well-performing duo of Simmering and Solzhenitsyn both backed up from their last-Saturday successes at Doomben with big wins in the third and fourth.
Heathcote entered the Brisbane racing history books with his trio of winners, becoming just the third trainer along with Bruce McLachlan and Gerald Ryan to train 60 winners in a single Brisbane racing season.
In the Southbank Insurance Brokers Benchmark 90 Handicap (2112m), three-year-old Postponed gelding Simmering ($1.70F) easily defeated King Of The Nile ($21) by one and three quarter lengths while the Brian Smith-trained Little Stranger ($8) ran third.
“I thought he got into very sill odds to be honest,” Heathcote said of Simmering’s odds-on price.
“It was only his ninth start, he was racing on successive Saturdays and he was taking on seasoned older horses, so I thought he was entitled to be better odds, but he proved the market right.”
Then 35 minutes later Solzhenitsyn ($2.70) scored a gritty final stride victory over the Kelso Wood-trained favourite Belltone ($2.25) in the Des Lambart Memorial Class 6 Plate (1400m), Unsupervised ($16) finishing third in a photo result.
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