Premier Brisbane trainer Robert Heathcote is praying to the weather gods as he plots the path for many of his winter carnival aspirants, starting at Eagle Farm on Saturday.
Heathcote has accepted with nine runners for the meeting including Queensland Oaks contender Hidden Kisses and talented sprinters Captain Clayton and Outstandingly.
Persistent rain which has fallen across Brisbane for the past three days eased slightly on Wednesday and Heathcote is hoping the clearing conditions continue until Saturday.
“I am keeping my eyes on the weather,” he said.
“The rain will play a big part in how many of them start on Saturday.
“Some of these races fit perfectly for the rest of these horses’ winter carnival campaigns but a lot of what happens will depend on the weather.”
Eagle Farm was rated a heavy (8) on Wednesday and the rail will be positioned out five metres for the entire circuit.
Heathcote has plotted an Oaks campaign for promising filly Hidden Kisses and is certain the Hidden Dragon three-year-old is primed for a big second-up performance in Saturday’s $100,000 Listed Princess Stakes (1600m).
“She produced a huge win first-up, she actually surprised me how well she won and she was really impressive in a race which was run to suit,” Heathcote said.
“She’s up to a mile second-up and she’s drawn perfectly (barrier one) to run really well again.
“I’ve trained her for the Oaks and I have a big opinion of her. I took her to Sydney and Melbourne early in her career, that’s how much I think of her.”
Heathcote is also expecting bold showings from Captain Clayton and Outstandingly, both of whom will start in the $100,000 Listed Hinkler Handicap (1200m).
Captain Clayton has finished unlucky seconds at his first two runs this campaign and Outstandingly is first-up into the race after a two-start Sydney campaign in January.
“Captain Clayton has been brilliant at his first two runs without luck this campaign and he’s a quality horse who is going places,” Heathcote said.
“Likewise, Outstandingly is a horse on the up. He’s a Sydney winner who is still eligible for restricted races but he is a horse who I think can measure up to Listed company.”