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Heathcote launches bold bid for three Stradbroke runners

Thu 21 April 2022

By Glenn Davis

Trainer Rob Heathcote will launch a bold bid to have up to three starters in the Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap when Prince Of Boom and Startantes clash in the Listed Mick Dittman Plate at Doomben on Saturday.

Heathcote has already earmarked the Stradbroke Handicap at Eagle Farm on June 11 for his star sprinter Rothfire, who makes his comeback in the Group 2 Victory Stakes at Eagle Farm on April 30.

The trainer has pencilled in a pathway to the Stradbroke for each sprinter but admits that could change at any time.

“It’s nice to have plans set in concrete and I’d love to have three runners in the Stradbroke but realistically it’ll be race by race with all of them,” Heathcote said.

“At this stage Prince Of Boom will run in the Gold Coast Guineas next start in two weeks while Startantes will run in three weeks in the Three-Year-Old Plate over 1350 metres at Doomben."

He is delighted with the progress of his Mick Dittman pair and has tipped his hand with a slight preference for Prince Of Boom.

“Prince Of Boom has a nice draw in barrier two but I would have liked a better draw than 13 for Startantes,” Heathcote said.

“It’s a salivating race and the Brisbane Racing Club must be chuffed to get a cracking line up like this.

“I think Prince Of Boom from his good barrier over 1100 metres might be too slick for Startantes but both will run well.

“I worked them both together on the Doomben course proper on Tuesday and both went exceptionally well.”

Prince Of Boom had two weeks in the paddock after winning the QTIS Jewel at the Gold Coast on March 19 while Startantes hasn’t raced since finishing second to former Queenslander Hinged in the Group 1 Surround Stakes at Randwick in late February.

Prince Of Boom and Startantes are set for a return clash after the Mick Dittman Plate in the Group 3 Fred Best Classic at Eagle Farm on May 28 which could decide their Stradbroke fate.

“The winner of the Fred Best is exempt from a ballot for the Stradbroke so at this stage they’ll meet again in that race,” Heathcote said.

Prince Of Boom and Startantes warmed up for their returns in a Doomben barrier trial last week.

“They went hard in the trial and Prince Of Boom was good finishing second while Startantes got back and stormed home for third,” he said.