Gutsy gelding chases triple
BRISBANE trainer Rob Heathcote is banking on a return to the track where he made history to breathe life into his gutsy gelding Our Lukas.
Twelve months ago Our Lukas became the first horse to win the Ipswich Cup twice when he edged out Frozone in a heart-stopping finish.
The race was made even more memorable because Stathi Katsidis rode the winner, four months before his shock death.
Two years ago Larry Cassidy rode Our Lukas to a commanding all-the-way win in the Cup.
Heathcote yesterday nominated Our Lukas for his third Ipswich Cup but admitted his confidence wasn't as high as in previous years.
However, history beckons and the chance for three Cups back-to-back was too tempting to ignore.
“At the end of the day he's going for three in a row,” Heathcote said.
“He's probably down on his best form this last two or three runs. This campaign he hasn't come up as well as I'd hoped but he's been set for the Ipswich Cup from pretty much the moment we brought him back this preparation so we're hopeful.”
Our Lukas started his winter campaign with fair efforts over 1350m and 1600m at Doomben and Eagle Farm before two below-par runs at the Gold Coast and Doomben.
Last Saturday Heathcote replicated Our Lukas' preparation for his previous Cup wins by running him over 1600m.
He's hoping he finds his best form on a track and a distance he has found very much to his liking.
“He's had three starts over 2150m at Ipswich and he's won all three including two Ipswich Cups,” Heathcote said.
“But it would be fair to say now he's up against it because he carried 56kg to win last year and I would suggest he will get 57.5, even 58 this year. If he was at the top of his game I would think he could still win with 58. But it's clear he's racing below his best form and I'm hoping we can recover it by next week. He always gives us 100 per cent and he ran an okay race on Saturday with 58 and we go back to the 2150m on Saturday with fingers and toes crossed, so to speak.”
The Eagle Farm trainer said it was difficult to define why seven-year-old Our Lukas had run disappointingly this preparation except for the usual suspects.
“Just like us they get little bugs and viruses and they have off times and he's getting on in years,” he said.
Other notable runners nominated for Saturday's Ipswich Cup include Kiwi raider The Hombre, Victorian De Fine Lago, Gold In Dubai, Little Stranger and Sydneysider Mr Clangtastic.
Rob Heathcote also nominated Gundy Son for the $175,000 City of Ipswich Eye Liner Stakes (1350m) on Saturday.
“He's going well and came back well with a good stakes win last start,” Heathcote said.
“He can race well in the Eye Liner I hope.”
Trainer Gerald Ryan has aimed Adnocon for back-to-back Eye Liner Stakes wins by nominating him again this year.
Weights for the Ipswich Cup program will be released today while the Cup barrier draw will be done tomorrow.