Heathcote had the option of starting on Friday night at the Sunshine Coast, but flipped the coin and went with the much bigger dollars at Doomben in the $125,000 Eagle Way Handicap.
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The son of Mossman broke his maiden status at start No. 8 last time at Toowoomba, winning in the easiest fashion possible.
Ladbrokes put him up as a $4 chance on Wednesday, third pick in the market behind proven city performers Don’t Waiver and Southern Swing.
But punters swung into action quickly and before long he was the $2.35 favourite.
“I find it amazing,” Heathcote said. “I truly wasn’t sure which way I was going to go. Robbie Fradd (who rode Mosshiki at Toowoomba) was keen to run at Caloundra, because he’s booked for Stu Kendrick’s (Don’t Waiver) at Doomben.
“It was a close call.”
Having said that, Heathcote is not saying the punters are wrong, he’s just surprised at how short the horse is now.
“Before he won at Toowoomba I told the owners I was stunned this horse was still a maiden after seven starts,” he said.
“He had always shown a high level of ability. Early days I predicted he could be my next Hopfgarten (a multiple stakes winner).
“The win at Toowoomba was arrogant, for sure, and maybe the smarties have dissected it.
“But we shouldn’t be confused that it was only a maiden. He probably hasn’t beaten a lot.”
Like Hopfgarten, Mosshiki is a son of Mossman, just as Heathcote’s pin-up horse Buffering was.
So 2000m is a little bit of new territory for Heathcote with the breed, and he admits “there’s an element of caution” until you see them run it out.
“We worked out how to ride this horse last time and I think Brad Stewart will suit him,” he said.
Heathcote also rates Ziemba a top hope of rolling Kelly Schweida’s promising filly Cellarmaid in race two on Saturday.
“Kelly’s filly is very good and I’m wary of her, but she wouldn’t want to be giving Ziemba too much start,” he said. “Ziemba is a very nice horse.”
The stable also has three runners in the Listed Brisbane Handicap, where Heathcote believes Cool Chap is the one of the trio that is over the odds.
“He was ridden too close last time. He needs to be three or four pairs back and needs to come to the outside,” he said.
“The race panned out beautiful for The Candy Man. He was arrogant and might do the same (Saturday), but a few will race a bit better.”
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