The old racing adage of booking local jockeys for certain racetracks will get a test when trainer Robert Heathcote tries to end a run of Gold Coast outs on Saturday.
Heathcote has trained more than 1000 winners but only six of those have been at the Gold Coast.
His aversion to the seaside track is such that while he is leading the state and Brisbane premierships he has had only one previous runner at the Gold Coast this season.
Heathcote has booked senior rider Michael Cahill for promising mare Sea Red in the Bartercard Handicap (1800m) and claiming apprentice Matt McGuren for Volkhere in Therock At Bombora Downs Handicap (2200m).
“It is no secret I don’t have a great record at the Gold Coast. Whether it is the way I train my horses or some other reason things just don’t go well for us down here,” Heathcote said.
“It is a track which seems to turn every 100 metres or so and it just doesn’t suit the way I want my horses to race.
“But it is a Saturday metropolitan meeting and the races are suitable for both Sea Red and Volkhere.”
Heathcote admits he is more worried about Sea Red getting around the Gold Coast than Volkhere.
“It won’t be the end of the world if she can’t handle the track. I will press on to see if she is a middle-distance horse. If the races were at Doomben I would have put her in a 1600-metre race,” he said.
“But she has drawn barrier one and she does have only 54 kilograms. I would have used an apprentice if she got more weight but Michael (Cahill) is a world-class rider.
“Also Michael knows the Gold Coast track like the back of his hand.”
Cahill has won just about every major race at the Gold Coast including the Magic Millions Classic and Prime Minister’s Cup.
Heathcote used the same theory when he booked Gold Coast apprentice Matt McGuren for Volkhere.