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Rothfire targets QTIS Jewel after Eagle Farm comeback

By Glenn Davis

Trainer Rob Heathcote sees next month’s QTIS Jewel as a title fight for the State’s best two-year-old and is hopeful unbeaten youngster Rothfire can deliver a knockout blow.

Heathcote plans to be in the ring for the QTIS Jewel after Rothfire makes his comeback in the QTIS Two-Year-Old Handicap (1000m) at Eagle Farm on Saturday.

The $500,000 QTIS Jewel will be run over 1200 metres at the Gold Coast on March 14 and is expected to attract the best two-year-old field this season.

“The QTIS Jewel is an outstanding innovation,” Heathcote said.

“It’s a huge incentive for owners and trainers and it carries Group 1 prizemoney.”

Heathcote has a big opinion of Rothfire after buying him in a private sale for $20,000 off Gleeson Thoroughbreds which runs a boutique breeding operation at Chinchilla, on Queensland’s western Darling Downs.

The son of Rothesay won on debut, beating the talented Gotta Kiss over 1000 metres at Eagle Farm in mid-October before strolling home by six lengths over the same trip at his latest appearance in November.

Heathcote has an extra spring in his step awaiting the return of his star two-year-old and has a new lease on life after undergoing recent heart surgery.

Rothfire was the quickest of the two-year-old trials at Doomben last month streaking to a one-length win in 50.18 seconds.

Heathcote, who is having one of his best seasons since the reopening of Eagle Farm, was delighted with Rothfire’s trial and is confident of a big first-up showing.

“It was an outstanding trial and Robbie Fradd was very impressed when he got off him,” Heathcote said.

“He’s done everything right since then and he gives me the indication he’s going to be a class horse.

“I’ll be disappointed if he doesn’t win.”

Heathcote revealed he had not originally planned to run Rothfire this week.

“He’s going to have three runs this preparation but I hadn’t planned to run him on Saturday before the weather forced my hand,” he said.

Heathcote has nominated Rothfire for the Group 1 AJC Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m) at Randwick during the Sydney autumn carnival but his main goal is the Brisbane two-year-old championships in the winter.

“He’s nominated for the Sires’ Produce in Sydney but his main goal is the winter in the Champagne Stakes, Sires Produce and J J Atkins,” he said.

“He’s by Rothesay and he gives me every indication he’ll run 1600 metres in the J J Atkins.”

Racing Queensland webnews - February 12