By Glenn Davis
Trainer Rob Heathcote believes the tricky Gold Coast track and a heavy surface has created an air of uncertainty surrounding his two QTIS Jewel hopefuls Rothfire and Guntantes on Saturday.
Rothfire is a short priced favourite to win the $500,000 Two-Year-Old QTIS Jewel (1200m) while Heathcote has a strong hand to claim The Jewel double with Guntantes in the $300,000 Three-Year-Old QTIS Jewel (1200m).
Rothfire drew barrier eight in the 10-horse QTIS Jewel for two-year-olds while Guntantes drew a similar gate in the three-year-old feature.
Rothfire will target the Brisbane winter carnival after the QTIS Jewel and won’t head south for the Golden Slipper at Rosehill on Saturday week if successful in the QTIS Jewel.
The son of Rothesay has dominated juvenile races in Brisbane this season winning all his four starts including a four and a half length win on a soft track over 1110 metres at Doomben last start.
Heathcote is not concerned with Rothfire attempting 1200 metres for the first time but does admit to having some concern around the Gold Coast on a wet track.
“It’s the same with all trainers with the air of uncertainty with the weather,” Heathcote said.
“It’s a heavy 9 at this stage which creates some doubts especially around the Gold Coast which can be a very tricky track for horses having their first starts there.
“Rothfire has won on a soft track and he’s by Rothesay whose progeny generally handle wet tracks.
“He’s at Black Caviar and Winks odds and this is his Grand Final which he’s been aimed for since his first start.
“I’m going into this race with a high degree of confidence and at the weights he should be a good thing but you never really know around the Gold Coast.”
Heathcote will give Rothfire a short break after the QTIS Jewel and aim the youngster for the fast approaching Brisbane winter carnival.
“He’s going for a break after this and he’ll come back for the Champagne Classic and Sires’ Produce Stakes here and we’ll cross the bridge when we come to it for the J J Atkins,” he said.
Heathcote has no wet track concerns with Guntantes who is having his first start winning over 1600 metres at Eagle Farm in December.
“He won on a wet track at his first start when he beat The Odyssey who won the two-year-old QTIS Jewel on a heavy track last year,” Heathcote said.
“I suspect 1200 metres might be a little short but he’s fresh enough to run a cheeky race.
“He trialled really well at Eagle Farm last week.”
Heathcote has mapped out an ambitious winter program for Guntantes who will start his campaign in the Group 2 Queensland Guineas (1600m) at Eagle Farm on April 25.
Racing Queensland webnews March 11