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Excellantes’ love of Doomben swayed trainer Rob Heathcote to keep him in Brisbane rather than tackle the Weetwood Handicap in Toowoomba on Saturday.

Excellantes, who has been dodging wet tracks, has drawn perfectly in barrier four in the Jim Beam Handicap (1110m) at Doomben.

He has won eight races, with five of them at Doomben and three of those over 1110m.

Trainer Robert Heathcote has a soft spot for Excellantes who is a son of the prolific winner-producing broodmare Cantantes.

Heathcote has trained all of Cantantes’ offspring and five of them are winners earning more than $1.2 million in prize money.

Excellantes is now a six-year-old but Heathcote believes there are more wins ahead for him, albeit away from elite class.

“He has had his problems with a little bleed last year. Then we had a virus in the stable when he came back last August and we had to spell him after one run,” Heathcote said.

“But he was racing well before we gave him a little break and we have been just waiting for a drier track.”

Heathcote is aiming Excellantes for second-tier sprints during the winter carnival.

Excellantes was entered for the Weetwood Handicap at Toowoomba on Saturday night but Heathcote felt he was better suited at Doomben.

Apprentice Aidan Holt, who led the Brisbane premiership before breaking a wrist in December, will have his first city ride back on Excellantes.

Holt, who will claim 2kg, has been riding trackwork for Heathcote and partnered star mare Fire Up Fifi in a recent track gallop.

He has been working hard to get his weight down with the help of a special diet.

 
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