Queensland's Own Welcome to the best coverage of racing in Queensland Queensland's Best
Horse Racing Only
www.horseracingonly.com.au Horse Racing Only logo
Home Racing Queensland National International Blogs Photo Gallery Links Contact Us


By Robert Heathcote | Thursday, September 29, 2011

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.

It was unfortunate for Woorim's connections and all of those who backed him last week at Caulfield when the track dried out far more than expected causing it to be upgraded to a Good 2 rating.

The simple fact is that there are many horses who will refuse to stretch out on a firm surface, just the same as there are many who cannot handle a rain affected track. Woorim is one of those horses who seems to not like both wet and very dry tracks and he will not race up to his best on those surfaces.

Of course there will be many who refer to these horses as soft and sooky etc, but in all walks of life you will get reasonable minded people and those who have a converse view. I guess the old saying rings true … 'the truth will be in the pudding' when he races next … or certainly in the following races.

It was well documented that the track ranger at Caulfield admitted that he erred in not irrigating on the Friday before the meeting and unfortunately he was met with unusual drying conditions on the Saturday. This opinion was also backed up by the Chief Steward who said it would have been better racing with more irrigation.

I am sure the winning connections on the day were not complaining too much? Interestingly, Rick Hore-Lacy scratched his good three-year-old from the Guineas prelude complaining about the firm track and later his horses ran the quinella in the Group 1. Just another example of how racing can defy logic at times?

Most jockeys will tell you that many horses can feel the jar in the ground when it’s firm as it travels up through the horses limbs as their legs strike the ground! Some feel the effects far more than others which I am sure has some physiological explanation which is beyond me!

It may also have been the case at Doomben last Saturday that whilst the rating remained in the Good 3 range, many jockeys and trainers commented on the firmness of the track. As is often the case on a firm track, it becomes very, very difficult for horses to make any ground and especially when the front runners are zipping home in around 34 secs for the final sectionals!

I am not overly critical of the track managers in this instance as they usually try for a perfect track both for the horses and the punters etc and track preparation is not an exact science.

As trainers, firm tracks are not our preferred racing surface as many horses do jar up and feel the effects of their exertions more than usual! Maybe even the punters felt the firm track at Doomben as well with only two of the favourites getting home on the day and the satchel swingers going home with big grins on their faces!

Getting back to Caulfield on Saturday, yes it was a let-down after so much was expected from Woorim, but initially I was very concerned during the run when I saw him going back through the field after he began so well. Funny though, the last thing I said to Melissa as they were about to jump is that I have a big worry about the hard track!

Damian said that as soon as Woorim got into stride from the jump he immediately felt the hard ground and he was reluctant to stretch out so Damian knew he was in trouble.

I watched him closely the last couple of hundred metres and he seemed to stretch out ok so my initial concerns of an injury were quickly dissipated.

Maybe, and this may sound a bit silly … but maybe Woorim is a clever horse and knows when to 'look after himself' in a run. Interestingly the electronic timers they carry in the saddle cloth showed his final sectional was indeed the 20th fastest on the day and Damian basically had a hold of him!

The on-course vet attended to Woorim immediately and he carried out an examination. Rather bizarrely, his heart rate straight after the race was at 80 beats per minute which is only marginally above a ‘resting’ heartbeat, so there is little doubt he completely saved himself during the race.

I am sure those who backed him would have had a much higher heart rate than the horse!

We have since been very happy with him in his track work with seemingly no on-going problems so considering the 'softness' of run, we are planning to race him back at the Valley on Friday night.

Knowing the history of Woorim in the past, I guess there will always be that doubt there as he has done something similar in the past, but he has been racing so genuine this past nine months that I totally forgive the horse for that run and put it down to the track.

Yes, it was also a disappointment personally after the heightened expectations of the race, but I have done this long enough now to quickly put it behind me and to look forward. Funny how the flight home seemed to take longer than flight home after the Moonee Valley double a fortnight earlier. Must have been a head-wind!

The main goal for the owners of Woorim is a chance at a run their horse in the Cox Plate … and why not? Whilst this may seem fanciful to some, we are willing to keep the dream alive!

He has been given the massive impost of 61.5 kilos for the mile race at Moonee Valley on Friday night. It's a handicap and I do think the handicapper has been very severe on Woorim, but I have learned long ago not to bother complaining about allocated weights as there is no point, but my mind boggles with the weights they have given him to date!

We will run him in the hope that his ability to handle the Valley on top of his first-up soft win with 60.5 on his back can help his case to gain a start on the blue riband event on the 22nd of next month!

It's a big task for him, stepping up to the mile, third-up, and on a shortened backup … and coming off a 'shocker' … so we will need to see him back to his best to be winning this race.

Talk about a big task ahead, try the race that our little bulldog sees himself in on Friday night.

Buffering will line up under the stars and against the stars in the form of More Joyous and Sepoy in the time-honoured Manikato stakes, the feature Group 1 event of the night, so it's sure to be some amazing racing theatre on the night.

Little Buff showed with his last start win in the McEwan that he's a real fighter. He will need to be at his very best as Sepoy could be a superstar while Gai cannot see her mare being beaten!

Our fella will hopefully give them something to chase and he won't lie down easily. I have taken the blinkers off him for this run as I believe it will open his field of vision and maybe allow him to see them coming at him as he then digs deeper into his reserves of energy!

I have said it before, winning a Group 1 would be great and if it happens, super … but we will just continue on doing our best with them and when the cards fall into place, it may well happen. I am looking forward to the experience of the night though!

Back home last Saturday, things didn't really work out as planned, but racing is often like that. Racing Heart ran his last 600 in 34 and ran fourth. That's as fast as he can go, so I was happy with his run. It was a farcical tempo up front.

Sam's Town got out-toughed on the line by Eastline for a good second place after three weeks between runs. Some say Jimmy should have protested (the winning jockey was one of those who thought a protest was imminent) but he didn't, so we move on!

Funtantes unfortunately broke down under the huge weight on the firm surface so she will now have a lengthy convalesce and hopefully she can come back for next year's winter carnival.

Redessi hated the firm surface and he wouldn't stretch out and Sway to Go's run was huge after the apprentice's chopped each other up in the last. It really shows what a fine line the difference between success and failure is in this racing game!

The constant is that one big week runs into another at this time of year. It's just the results that vary.

It's another busy weekend for the stable with flights to Melbourne on Friday morning, racing at night at the Valley, a flight back home on Saturday morning for a busy day’s racing at Eagle Farm then racing again on Sunday at Caloundra and Trump lining up at Flemington.

Trump has been in the news of late with his last start rider copping 'the big stick' from the racing judiciary with a three month suspension for his ride.

I am eagerly awaiting Trumps next run at Flemington. His breeding suggests that he may struggle at the 1800m on the big track, but he has travelled down to Melbourne well, he's settled in brilliantly and his work has been first class. It will be interesting to see how our three-year-old form matches up with theirs! I think he can race well.

Anyway, commiserations to all those who done their dough on Woorim. Do not give up on him just yet, he might be a bit of a thinker and even a bit of a 'sook', but there is a big win in this horse!


More articles

Robert Heathcote.
Robert Heathcote.
Woorim - do not give up on him just yet!
Woorim - do not give up on him just yet!
Damian Brown said that as soon as Woorim got into stride he felt the hard ground and was reluctant to stretch out.
Damian Brown said that as soon as Woorim got into stride he felt the hard ground and was reluctant to stretch out.
Buffering will line up under the stars against the stars at Moonee Valley on Friday night.

It's sure to be some amazing racing theatre on the night.
Buffering will line up under the stars against the stars at Moonee Valley on Friday night.

It's sure to be some amazing racing theatre on the night.
Queensland's Own www.horseracingonly.com.au Queensland's Best