QUEENSLAND Racing web news: Ross Dowd – March 29Current and former representatives of Australia’s national football side have had a nice boost before their second consecutive World Cup campaign in South Africa.
Socceroos Craig Moore, Zeljko Kalac and Scott Chipperfield, along with football identities Sam Krslovic and Marinko Vrlic all had shares in first outing winner Buffering at Doomben on Saturday, March 27.
The Robert Heathcote-trained gelding led from start to finish in the Russell Daniels QTIS 600 2YO Handicap and, due to his QTIS 600 registration, collected a $74,000 winner’s cheque for his famous owners.
“Zeljko Kalac has just retired from a lengthy stint in Europe,” Heathcote said. “He got together with Craig Moore, Sam Krslovic, Marinko Vrlic and Scott Chipperfield who are mates of Spiders’ (Kalac) and are mostly linked with the soccer scene.
“They owned Humma, who came up to me from Sydney, and we had a lot of success.
“I was going to the QTIS 600 Sales last March and Humma had just knocked off a couple of races. So the boys just said if you buy something that you really like then we’d be only to happy to come in for a share.”
The result was a 50 per cent share in Buffering, a two-year-old by Mossman out of Action Annie.
The gelding did plenty wrong over his initial 1110 metre journey according to jockey Larry Cassidy, but simply had too much speed to be rundown by stablemate, second placed Cavaliered, in the Doomben straight.
“Even though he travelled easy out in front, he did things wrong throughout the race,” Cassidy said.
“He got on the wrong leg and ran a very nervous race for the first part of it. In the early stages he changed (lead) leg a dozen times before we’d gone three furlongs.”
Robert Heathcote and Larry Cassidy can see plenty of potential in the trainers’ two-year-old charge
If Buffering was suffering from nerves, Heathcote should have been sweating bullets after the jockeys returned to scale.
Glen Colless, the rider of Cavaliered, made it clear that the result was disputable. To make it particularly sensitive in the Heathcote household, Vicky, Robert’s wife has a share in Buffering.
The two-year-old shifted continuously into the path of Cavaliered with 150 metres to travel which drew the ire of Colless and stewards.
Correct weight was delayed to allow Colless an opportunity to view the race replay to ascertain if they had grounds on which to lodge a protest, which put Heathcote into a touchy predicament.
“It was certainly unusual when Glen said to me straight away: ‘it’s not over yet, I believe it has cost me ground’,” the trainer said.
“Then I started to think to myself, how is this going to go. I’d have to go to bat for the winner and say he didn’t do anything wrong and we should keep the race and then I’d have to go bat for the connections of the second horse saying that he cost us the win.
“I really shudder the thought of how I would have gone arguing that case. At the end of the day I would have to though, as I’m the trainer of both horses and represent both lots of connections.”
The protest was decided against to the relief of Heathcote who immediately received calls from his star-studded owners.
“Zeljko was in Brisbane on Wednesday (March 24) when another of his horses ran,” Heathcote said. “He elected to stay at Rosehill on Saturday (March 27), but nonetheless he was pretty happy about it.
“Craig Moore spoke to me actually straight after the race from Greece.”
Buffering recorded a three quarters of a length victory from his first run and benefited greatly from a QTIS 600 registration to collect $42,000 in added stakes.
Heathcote currently has an embarrassment of riches when it comes to two-year-olds, after Buffering and Cavaliered claimed first and second respectively.
This result follows the promising Hidden Kisses’ performance a week prior in a similar QTIS 600 2YO Handicap at Eagle Farm. She has now earned herself a chance at Group 1 glory during Sydney’s Autumn Carnival in the Sires’ Produce at Randwick on April 10.
“It’s always nice when your juveniles are going well,” Heathcote said. “It means that over the following years you’ll have some nice horses that you hope to have success with.
“I specifically went out last year and replenished the stable stocks of yearlings. I’ve been lucky with the couple that raced on Saturday (Buffering and Cavaliered), and Hidden Kisses.”
Buffering has already proven a top buy at $22,000 from the 2009 QTIS 600 Magic Millions Yearling Sales.
Cavaliered finished a solid second to collect $22,000, which included $12,000 in added stakes due the gelding’s QTIS 600 registration.
The Neville Stewart-trained Moment By Moment, ridden by Brad Stewart, also overcame a potential protest by jockey Damian Browne, rider of fourth placegetter Big Chance, to claim third place by one and a quarter lengths.
The two-year-old filly is not QTIS 600 registered, so missed out on the potential double-up bonus, however, has enjoyed a very consistent career to-date bringing home a cheque in each of her four runs.
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