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Nationwide Stradbroke jockey search if Abounding wins Fred Best

Fri 31 May 2024

By Glenn Davis

Trainer Robert Heathcote will begin a nationwide jockey search for next month’s Stradbroke Handicap if Queensland filly Abounding books a golden ticket into the $3 million Group 1 feature at Eagle Farm next month.

Abounding, winner of the Magic Millions Guineas at the Gold Coast in January, was allotted only 49.5kgs when weights were released this week for the Stradbroke Handicap on June 15.

However, the winner of the Group 3 Fred Best Classic at Eagle Farm on Saturday, in which Abounding has drawn barrier three, is guaranteed a start in Queensland’s premier sprint.

Heathcote has a two-week European holiday planned in a fortnight and will miss the Stradbroke in which he also hopes to start Prince Of Boom.

“Abounding needs to win this to get into the Stradbroke and if she does win, we'll need to find someone who can ride the weight,” Heathcote said.

“This is probably one of the strongest Fred Best’s I’ve ever seen - it’s a cracking race.

“She still hasn’t a rider for the Stradbroke but if she wins on Saturday then hopefully, I won’t have to call, and jockeys will call me.

“There’s a few jockeys around who can ride that weight including young Zac Lloyd and he’ll be in the mix.”

Heathcote is confident of a strong showing from Abounding in the Fred Best following her last start third to the James Cummings-trained Amur in a 3YO Plate over 1350 metres two weeks ago.

It was only her second run this campaign since winning the Magic Millions Guineas in January.

“She was four and five wide last start and the closest she got was three wide and she was still there fighting out the finish,” Heathcote said.

“Her run was enormous and was full of courage and she’s better on top of the ground.

“She’s had two runs back this prep on unsuitable ground and she’s had zero luck.

“There’s rain forecast for Saturday but hopefully it comes late and the track stays good as I think she’s going better than when she won the Magic Millions.

”She’s stronger now and mentally she’s in the right place and her two runs this time in have been outstanding.”

Heathcote is hoping for a change of luck in the Stradbroke after finishing second on three occasions.

“I’ve finished second three times with Buffering twice and Rothfire last year who was beaten by Think About It who went on to win The Everest," he said. 

“I’ve also had a third, fourth and fifth.

“Woorim ran well one year and is still trying to get out. It’s been one of those races for me.”