Trainer Robert Heathcote has called on the experience of jockey Damian Browne to help turn around the fortunes of two of his runners at Doomben.
Stakes performer Excellantes, who contests the Listed Falvelon Quality (1200m), has been ridden by apprentices at his past two starts and had no luck.
He parted company with Alysha Collett at the start of a Sunshine Coast race two runs back and was trapped deep with no cover when second for Matt McGuren at Doomben two weeks ago.
“Damian knows Excellantes very well and they have a great record. The horse has also finally drawn a good barrier in one,” Heathcote said.
Heathcote is also hoping Browne can get Punta Norte back on track and confirm his winter carnival hopes.
Punta Norte won three in a row last sprint but disappointed when he returned to run ninth first-up at Doomben last Saturday week.
The gelding led by a big margin in the middle stages but collapsed in the straight to finish 10 lengths from winner Cantbuybetter.
Browne will replace Dan Griffin on Punta Norte for the Greenslopes Paediatrics Handicap (1600m).
Heathcote believes Browne will suit Punta Norte who has to come from barrier 11 and carry 59kg.
“I don’t know what happened with Dan last start but the horse went far too hard. I just hope that run didn’t take the sting out of the horse for this campaign,” Heathcote said.
He said Punta Norte would be ridden back in the field on Saturday.
“They don’t come much better than Damian and if anyone can get him to settle and find cover it will be him,” Heathcote said.
“Damian has won on Punta Norte and knows the horse which is a bonus.”
Heathcote is still looking at the winter three-year-old staying races with Punta Norte but realises he will have to get the horse’s rating higher.
Punta Norte is by the 2007 Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense and also has staying bloodlines on his dam’s side.