Wiggins vital to stable success: Heathcote

Ryan Wiggins is a prime example of a jockey riding with great self-belief.

That’s the opinion of leading trainer Robert Heathcote who believes the success he has enjoyed this season is in no small part due to the form of Wiggins who will ride stable favourite Fire Up Fifi in Saturday’s Bernborough Handicap (1600m) at Doomben.

“I’ve never seen a rider improve so much as Ryan has in the past twelve months,” Heathcote said.

“His self-confidence has gone through the roof.”

Wiggins plays an integral role in trackwork sessions, providing valuable insight into the horses he rides for Heathcote who has praised his work ethic.

“He’s ridden a lot for me in the past six months and I can’t think of a horse he’s made a mistake on,” he said.

Fire Up Fifi has fared better in the barrier draw and weights for the Bernborough than her stablemate Fillydelphia who faces the dual burden of 59kg from an outside gate against her 12 rivals.

For that reason Heathcote is leaning to Fire Up Fifi as the pick of his Bernborough runners.

“Ryan had a big grin from ear to ear after he rode her work on Thursday morning,” Heathcote said.

“From gate five she’ll get a nice run and she’ll lap up the mile.

“She’s got that special quality that all good horses have which is a lovely change-up gear.”

Heathcote said Fillydelphia would need a lot of luck from her wide barrier but rates her form on a par with last year when she was narrowly beaten in the Bernborough by Kontiki Park.

Villiers Stakes runner-up Alma’s Fury won’t be troubled by an interstate trip and seven day back-up, according to trainer Paul Murray.

Alma’s Fury is the $3.80 favourite with Fire Up Fifi on the second line of betting at $4.