Heathcote unearths potential gold mine
An unraced gelding found wandering in a paddock last year on a stallion station in Victoria has returned his first dividend for millionaire Malaysian businessman, Tunku Datuk Seri Shahabuddin.
The aptly named Eureka, a five-year-old son of Made Of Gold, strolled to a six length win on a heavy track to record his first win after five starts in Wednesday’s Lyndhurst Stud Plate (1846m) at Eagle Farm.
The win continued trainer Robbie Heathcote’s run of good fortune and extended his lead in the Brisbane trainers’ premiership to six over nearest rival Liam Birchley.
Heathcote is looking for his first trainers’ title after starting his career 12 years ago when he quit his previous occupation as a tour leader in Europe.
Eureka’s 72-year-old owner serves as a director on a number of company boards but plans to step down on July 1 as chairman of the Selangor Turf Club (SLTC) in Malaysia after holding the post since 1998.
“Tunku is better known as Din and has other horses in my stable,” Heathcote said.
“Din travels the world buying horses and at this moment he’s in Venice.
“He’s got horses all around the world. He’s got so many horses he didn’t even know this bloke existed until he was discovered in the paddock last year.
“He was on a stallion station at Euroa in Victoria and hadn’t even been broken in.”
After learning of the discovery of the then unraced four-year-old, Din ordered the gelding be sent to Queensland where he was broken in at Kevin Thomas’ renowned Washpool Lodge, west of Brisbane, and sent on to Heathcote to train.
“He’s got the makings of a good horse but for the time being we’ll keep our feet firmly on the ground with him and look for another easy race somewhere,” Heathcote said.
“When we were looking at naming him we submitted Eureka but we didn’t expect to get it.
“But unbelievably, the name became available the same week we lodged the application.
Heathcote praised Eureka’s victory after he gave the leaders a big start and came from last approaching the home turn before scoring a runaway win.
“It was an impressive win considering there was a bit of a distance doubt with him,” he said.
“He was stepping up considerably in distance after finishing fifth over 1350 metres at Doomben in his previous start.”
Meanwhile talented filly Yatala earned a shot at the Grafton Guineas (1600m) next month following her 2-3/4 length win in the CE Environmental Solutions Handicap (1500m).
Owner Simon Adams bought Yatala as a tried horse in Melbourne after she started six times for trainer Rod Douglas and has now won four times with the daughter of More Than Ready.
Trainer Tony Crane missed the filly’s win as he was in Rockhampton in central Queensland where he has a small team of five horses preparing for Thursday’s Newmarket Handicap and Saturday’s Rockhampton Cup meetings.
By Glenn Davis