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Heathcote looking for a change of Eye Liner luck

By Glenn Davis

The Eye Liner Stakes hasn’t been a lucky race for trainer Rob Heathcote.

The Eagle Farm conditioner has tried many times to claim the Eye Liner Stakes, with his best result in 2001 when The Kildare Kid was narrowly beaten by Pittance.

Heathcote - a five-time premiership winner - is back for another attempt, this time with Deep Image in the 1200-metre Listed feature at Ipswich on Saturday.

Deep Image hasn’t raced since failing in the Group 1Stradbroke Handicap at Eagle Farm in June when he was a victim of a wide barrier.

The rising seven-year-old was previously placed in the Group 3 BRC Sprint at Doomben and Group 2 Victory Stakes at Eagle Farm.

He was due to make his comeback following his Stradbroke failure in the Listed Glasshouse Handicap last week but was scratched due to the heavy track.

“He was four wide and was exposed the whole trip in the Stradbroke so I’m overlooking that run,” Heathcote said.

“He was ready to run in the Glasshouse last Saturday but we decided not to run him first-up on a heavy track.

“I think 1200 metres is short of his best distance but he’s a chance on the two really good runs he put in going into the Stradbroke.”

I think 1200 metres is short of his best distance but he’s a chance on the two really good runs he put in going into the Stradbroke

Deep Image, barrier 14, is topweight with 59kgs and only one horse – Smokin’ Joey (59.5kgs) in 2015 – has carried more weight since the Eye Liner turned metric in 1973.

Deep Image has won four of his 11 starts for Heathcote since transferring from David Vandyke, including the Listed Lough Neagh Stakes at Doomben in December and The Buffering at the Gold Coast in January.

Meanwhile trainer Darryl Hansen is hopeful of his second Eye Liner Stakes with Monsieur Gustave or Pennino.

Hansen won the Eye Liner Stakes in 2017 with Monsieur Gustave.

Monsieur Gustave hasn’t raced since finished sixth in the Listed Member’s Cup over the mile at Doomben in February.

“He’s got a better record second up but he’s going well and has had a couple of jump outs,” Hansen said.

“If he goes as good as we expect he’ll probably head to North Queensland for the Cleveland Bay and the Cairns Newmarket.”

Hansen rates Pennino as the pick of his pair following the mare’s last start third to Jami Lady in the Listed Bright Shadow (1200m) at Eagle Farm on July 4.

“She was also in the Gai Waterhouse but she drew a better gate in the Eye Liner,” Hansen said.

“She’s been racing very consistently and her last run was excellent when she was caught three deep and kept fighting on.”

Deep Image