By Glenn Davis
Trainer Rob Heathcote concedes the tricky Gold Coast track is not one of his luckiest venues but he’s hoping Deep Image can change his fortunes in the $1 million Magic Millions Cup on Saturday.
Heathcote is based at Eagle Farm where he’s won the Brisbane trainers’ premiership five times but wins in big races at the Gold Coast have deserted him.
“I’m not sure why but it’s not my favoured track,” Heathcote said.
“I won the inaugural Magic Millions QTIS race with Buffering a few years ago but outside him I haven’t had a lot of luck there.
“Maybe it’s because the horses I’ve had weren’t good enough.”
Deep Image has been a revelation for Heathcote since transferring from Caloundra trainer David Vandyke.
A $150,000 buy at the Magic Millions sales, Deep Image was almost sold to Hong Kong by his previous owners before being snapped up at on-line auction by owner Jake Henson.
Since entering Heathcote’s stable, Deep Image has started six times for four wins and two placings.
He won his first Stakes race in the Listed Lough Neagh Stakes at Eagle Farm on December 14 before claiming The Buffering (1400m) on the same track a fortnight later.
Deep Image drew barrier 18 in the 1200-metre feature but Heathcote isn’t overly concerned with the wide draw.
“A wide alley for him is not a bad thing and he comes in three without the emergencies,” Heathcote said.
“He can be slow away so drawing off the track is not a big disadvantage.
“He’s bang in-form and I’ll be going to the races on Saturday confident he’ll run a very big race.”
Heathcote has scaled back in numbers in recent years since being Brisbane’s dominant trainer.
“I’ve only got about 50 horses in work now while Tony Gollan is a very formidable trainer and has around 94 in work,” he said.
“I’ve won five premierships but I doubt I’ll win another with the numbers I now have.”
Win, lose or draw, Heathcote will spell Deep Image after the Magic Millions Cup.
“He’ll go for a spell after this race and come back for the winter carnival here,” he said.
“I think he’d make a nice lightweight chance in the Stradbroke.”
Heathcote rates the Gollan-trained Vega One as his main danger after the four-year-old earned a wildcard entry following his win in The Gateway (1400m) at Eagle farm last month.
Deep Image and Vega One currently share favoritism at $4.80 in the Magic Millions Cup.
Racing Queensland webnews January 9