Olympic Anthem signals new era

Robert Heathcote is hoping the win by Olympic Anthem at Doomben on Wednesday will herald a new era of investment in the racing industry by the China Racing Club.

Olympic Anthem is the first horse to carry the colours of the China Racing Club syndicate to victory in Queensland, winning the LED Superscreens Handicap (1110m) at Doomben.

“I got this horse through my association with Duncan Ramage having trained some runners that are owned by Dato Tan Chin Nam,” Heathcote said.

“The China Racing Club were very active at the Easter Yearling Sales in Sydney and it’s encouraging to see them invest in our industry and winning this race for them today was very satisfying.”

The syndicate which races the gelding is managed by Teo Ah Khing, the chairman of the China Horse Club which will host its inaugural carnival next month.

Heathcote plans to step Olympic Anthem up in distance and is confident the son of Starcraft can measure up in better company.

“From day one he’s shown a lot of talent but he’s been very green,” he said.

“He did a lot wrong today and I think it was just his natural ability that got him home.”

The win by Olympic Anthem ($6) wasn’t without drama after Michael Cahill, the rider of runner-up Grey Countess ($1.70 fav), lodged a protest for two counts of interference at the 700m mark and rounding the home turn.

“It’s clearly evident the winner has made contact with my horse on three separate occasions and bearing in mind the margin between them was only a short head, I definitely believe it cost me the race,” Cahill told stewards.

Heathcote said Grey Countess had ample opportunity to overhaul Olympic Anthem despite the interference.

“I don’t deny contact has taken place but our horse has come from behind the second horse to win and it had the entire length of straight to run us down but couldn’t,” he said.

Acting chief steward Martin Knibbs told Cahill the amount of interference Grey Countess suffered in the first incident was “minimal” but acknowledged he had grounds to object for the scrimmage on the home turn.

“However the way the two horses finished off the race can’t make us confident to grant your protest and therefore we dismiss the objection,” Knibbs said.