Leading trainer Robert Heathcote has some unfinished business at the Magic Millions carnival with Racing Heart.
The Magic Millions Stayers Cup (1800m) at the Gold Coast in January has been nominated by Heathcote as the long-term goal for Racing Heart who maintained his excellent staying form when he won at Eagle Farm on Saturday.
The gelding has been a fringe performer at the past two summer carnivals at the Gold Coast, finishing third in the 2011 Magic Millions Country Cup before a similar placing in this year’s Stayers Cup (1800m) won in dominant fashion by the Gai Waterhouse-trained Kontiki Park.
“Without a doubt it would suit us better if the Cup was 2400 metres and not 1800 metres but he’s eligible for it so why not have another crack,” Heathcote said.
Heathcote praised talented apprentice Kirk Matheson for a clever front-running ride aboard Racing Heart when he led from the outset and defied a spirited challenge from runner-up Topping in the straight.
“I told Kirk not to let another horse come around him and dictate to us and he got it spot on,” Heathcote said.
“He allowed Chris Munce on Topping to eyeball him in the straight but this horse is rock-hard fit and loves a stoush.”
Heathcote is considering starting Racing Heart in a 2000m open company race at Doomben in three weeks before he spells to prepare for a summer campaign.
“There is also the Wyong Cup to consider but I’m happy to keep knocking off these types of races while he’s in such good winning form,” he said.
Matheson was unconcerned when Topping loomed ominously at the 300m.
“He really responds when another horse comes up on his outside and I was confident he would give a good kick,” Matheson said.
“Rob said before the race to make sure I kept him rolling along in front and that’s what he did.”
While Racing Heart has found his niche as a stayer, that was not the initial impression he gave Heathcote.
“It’s funny when I think back to the time he won his first race by four lengths in an 1100-metre race I thought to myself ‘what a good little sprinter I’ve got’,” he said.
“But then he kept improving every time we stepped him up in journey and he’s turned out a very consistent stayer.”