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Heathcote Dreaming of Elite Home Breakthrough
Prominent Queensland trainer Rob Heathcote will be praying that his patience with exciting 2YO Rothfire (who was held back from the Golden Slipper) will be rewarded with an inaugural Group 1 triumph in his home state in the JJ Atkins. Boasting 10 Group 1 wins on his CV – seven of them with champion sprinter Buffering – Heathcote will actually get to roll the Group 1 dice again 40 minutes later when Deep Image contests the Stradbroke Handicap. Both have drawn poorly in their respective races at Eagle Farm, which can be more forgiving than Doomben with its longer straight, but that’s where the similarities end. Rothfire, who boasts 4 wins and a runner-up when $1.20 favourite in the rich Queensland Jewel, bounced back last start (see below) to show he is potentially a genuine Gr1 winner in-waiting which is why he is a deserving favourite. On paper, Deep Image lacks the wow factor of Rothfire and will start around $30 in the Stradbroke, but he has shown a capacity to surprise and the light-weight chance was not disgraced when close up behind Stradbroke fancy Victorem in the Gr2 Victory Stakes a week ago. Heathcote would be thrilled if either of his chances won, but a Group 1 double isn’t entirely out of the question.