By Robert Heathcote | Thursday, February 2, 2012
Robert Heathcote is the leading racehorse trainer in Brisbane. 'Rob's Shout' - the personal blog of the multi-premiership winning trainer will appear every Thursday on HRO.
Hello again folks, it’s been a very busy week for me which has had me under the pump a bit … as usual I guess.
Firstly congrats must go to the BRC track conditioner, Bill Shuck and his crew. We have just come out of the wettest January for many decades and yes, even wetter than last year … so the tracks have taken a pounding.
Both Doomben and Eagle Farm showed remarkable qualities recently to have received over 250m of rain in a short period and yet still race well and actually get significant upgrades through the days races.
I have written in the past about the serious effects the wet weather can have on our industry so I won’t rehash it, but it is a time when we just have to endure the wet season and do the best we can.
I know it’s tough on all of those at the coal-face each and every morning as we work through the rain and no less frustrating for the owners with racing disruptions and even more so if there’s one who cannot race well in the wet.
Tough also for the punters trying to work out the wet weather form but, take it from me, it’s never a given that a horse who can win on one particular wet track can do it on another.
My adage has always been that the degree of difficulty in assessing form rises dramatically on rain affected surfaces and I find it incredulous to see so many surprised when more horses than usual do not run up to the market’s expectations!
I don’t really know why it is that more seem to race below market expectations on wet tracks, but I do know that the incidents of muscles strains, eye injuries and other problems rise drastically when we race on rain affected tracks!
I have just returned from New Zealand where I attended the Karaka Premier Yearling sales. The purpose of my trip was to get maybe one or two youngsters with a nice pedigree and some stout staying bloodlines.
The quality of horse flesh on offer was excellent and, with the market down a bit on previous years, it was very good value for the buyers.
There were many trainers from Australia in attendance, no doubt with the same goals as myself to bring home some youngsters for their existing clients and perhaps even to entice new owners into their stables.
I was delighted with the two colts I acquired. I really wanted a Savabeel colt and reckon I got a beauty. He is so similar in appearance to last year’s VRC derby winner in Sangster so we are excited about him.
I also won the bid on the half-brother to last year’s Queensland Derby winner and multiple stakes winner in Shootoff! He is by Keeper who is also doing a sterling job in the breeding barn.
Both of these ticked all the right boxes for Paul Willetts and myself and I believe they were both a bargain.
My existing stable clients and friends have taken up these two so whilst we will have to be very patient with these two youngsters with a view to their three-year-old seasons, we are hopeful that they can go on and race up to their looks and pedigree!
I am also very pleased to be asked to train a lovely High Chaparral filly which Grant Morgan, through Getontrack Thoroughbreds, acquired at the sales. I imagine Grant will be offering shares in her in the near future so I will keep you posted.
I plan to maybe get a few more youngsters from the upcoming Magic Million sales in March for anyone still keen to get a share in a horse. Send me an email or have a look at my website a bit later on.
I think it’s best the colts remain in New Zealand for a while longer to grow and mature on those rich Waikato pastures.
The facilities at the Karaka sales complex are second to none and, as usual, the hospitality afforded to us from the Kiwi’s was first class! The quality of the horses on offer was excellent and little wonder our cousins from across the ditch have enjoyed so much success with the Kiwi bred horses!
I flew home on Wednesday morning so I could watch my two stables stars have an exhibition gallop at Eagle Farm between races. The track was still a heavy rating, but the disruptive weather has meant I have little option to take the opportunity to gallop them when possible as their Group 1 missions are getting closer and closer.
Jimmy Byrne rode Buffering for me and he said he went and felt super so he’s on track for a big first up run in the Lightning Stakes on the 18th.
Damian Browne said Woorim was not very happy on the heavy track, which he has shown in the past, but I remain confident he will perform well for his first up assignment in the Oakleigh plate on the 25th of the month.
Both of the lads will fly down to Melbourne next Tuesday. It’s not cheap to fly down … about 6 grand each and they don’t even get so much as a cup of coffee and it’s in economy class.
Jokes aside, I like the fact that they can go from box to box in about four hours! I used this formula when the boys went down to Melbourne last spring and they both won first up so here’s hoping they can do it again?
It’s Group 1 racing though so it ain’t gonna be easy, but I am sure the boys will do us proud. It will be great having Queensland well represented with Jason McLachlan and Big Tony ‘Bubbles’ Gollan also having their stable stars racing. It would be super if one of us can bring home a biggie during the carnival.
There has been further developments within the industry concerning thegovernment funding and the distribution of it.
There has already been plenty said about it in the media and I do not wish to get to ‘politically’ involved within my own industry, but the direction the industry is heading does concern me and I fear it may get worse before it gets better!
No doubt the next six months will be as enthralling as the last as expected changes occur!
I see my old sparring partner from Ipswich has featured me on his website this week.
I won’t give the issue more air than it is worth, but I will offer a few words to put the matter in perspective.
The article refers to the losses a punter would make if they backed every one of my runners who lined up in a race so far this season.
How naive is that?
I know the writer thinks most punters are idiots, but he should give some credit to the punter for being selective at what he or she does as nobody bets on every runner from one stable … not even my wife on my runners!
Punters should look for horses with chances that provide value and I am the first to admit that often many of my runners are not good value due to the way they are priced … maybe because of the stable’s success or perhaps because of a particular jockey I have on top.
I am more than happy with the way my stable is performing this current racing season and the point should never be lost … I train for my clients, not for the general punting public!
My brief is to train winners for my clients and if I train more winners than anybody else it means I am getting the job done. That is in my hands to a degree. The starting price, where money is invested and what the return is on that investment is not in my hands and is therefore of no real importance to me.
Neither is any pointless, manufactured article designed to knock trainers at the top of the trainer’s ladder by using an example that doesn’t exist in the real world.
The article in question is a good example of a futile exercise.
And that’s about all the time that ridiculous article deserves.
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