Prince Of Boom and Startantes will look to give Rob Heathcote a win in one of the toughest editions of the Mick Dittman Plate (1110m) in recent history at Doomben on Saturday.
The star three-year-olds both head into the $130,000 event in career best form, with Prince Of Boom looking to remain undefeated this preparation, while Startantes returns to Brisbane after a runner-up effort in the Group 1 Surround Stakes (1400m) at Randwick in February.
The pair will line up in the Mick Dittman on the back of pleasing trials at Doomben on Tuesday, April 12, where Spirit Of Boom ran second and Startantes closed off strongly into third in Trial 11 over 1000m.
“I’m as happy as I can be,” Heathcote told HorseBetting.
“They were different reasons I trialled the both of them – Prince Of Boom had two weeks off after his (3YO) Jewel Gold Coast win; he’s the type of horse you don’t have to do a lot with him, but because I sent him out for two weeks to Washpool (Lodge), I just wanted to blow the cobwebs out – you’ll notice that Jimmy (James Orman) was pretty easy on him going to the line.
“Even though Rubiquitous beat him, Jimmy came in and said ‘mate, he’s where we need him'”
While Startantes didn’t threaten to win the trial some 1.9 lengths behind the first two horses, her work pleased her multiple Group 1-winning trainer, while jockey Taylor Marshall was full of praise too.
“She’s genuine Group 1 class, there’s no doubting that now,” the trainer continued.
“The way she trialled the other day, she ran past – I think the horse that ran fourth (Inasec) is not a bad horse – but she just went straight past it without coming off the bridle.
“Taylor came in and said to me afterwards, he said ‘you know I could have knocked those two off in front, I just throttled back on her’.
“Those little legs – she might not be big – but she can pump.”
Although Heathcote would prefer further than 1110m and a bigger track than Doomben for his star filly, he admits that he won’t be disappointed if she doesn’t win on Saturday, with bigger fish to fry later on in the carnival.
Having spoken to Racing Queensland handicappers, he is confident that the filly by Star Turn won’t have to do much more to secure herself a start in the Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) on June 11 at Eagle Farm.
“That’s the goal,” he said.
“I don’t mind going to the races on a Saturday when I have a horse like her, because if she happened to win or run second, I’m over the moon – but it’s not her Grand Final.
“As long as she’s hitting the line – and I know she will – because I spoke to the handicappers the other day, and they’ve already said on her rating she would nearly get into the Stradbroke already – they said ‘win another race along the way and you’ll be in.
“That’s the goal. Imagine Stradbroke 50kg her, 1400m, high pressure – geez!”
Prince Of Boom is currently the $3.20 favourite for the race with online bookmakers, while Startantes is a $9 chance to win off a freshen.