Brisbane’s reigning premier trainer Robert Heathcote extended his lead in the metropolitan title race with a winning double at Doomben on Wednesday.
Heathcote’s brace took his tally to 40.5 winners, 12.5 in front of his nearest rival Liam Birchley, and with less than four months left in the current season his second consecutive premiership looks a formality.
A former tour bus driver in Europe, Heathcote is primarily a self-taught horse trainer and his effort to reach the pinnacle of the Brisbane racing industry after starting as an unknown is remarkable.
Heathcote opened the program in winning fashion with impressive first starter Fire Up Fifi.
A daughter of Magic Millions winner Bradbury’s Luck, Fire Up Fifi lived up to her solid trial form when she overcame a sluggish getaway to find the line powerfully for a good win in the Skyracing TV Maiden (1030m).
Confidently ridden by apprentice Ashley Butler, Fire Up Fifi ($2.80 fav) took all the shortcuts in the run to the line to beat pacemaker Bundy ($3.30) by three-quarters of a length with Coup Rayvan ($4.20) 1-1/4 lengths back third.
Heathcote only took over the training of Fire Up Fifi at the start of her current campaign and he tipped a bright future for the three-year-old.
“She was a nice little addition to the stable,” he said.
“She was formerly trained in Toowoomba but they couldn’t get her going so the owners sent her down to me.
“They gave her to me a couple of months ago and we’ve got the job done first-up.”
Heathcote was back in the winner’s circle three races later when Bevico Girl broke through for a well-deserved win in the Brisbane Bloodstock Plate (1350m).
Winning rider Larry Cassidy afforded Bevico Girl ($3.30) the run of the race just off the pace and the Easy Rocking filly dashed clear in the straight to post a 1-1/4-length win.
Race favourite Manzano ($2.90) ran on late to claim second with Immovable Site ($6) a half-length back third.