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Lordag to step up at Doomben

Lordag has taken a step up in class in each of his campaigns and his trainer Robert Heathcote hopes this time it will lead to overdue stakes success.

Lordag raced in Melbourne during the spring last year but this season Heathcote elected to keep him for the summer in Brisbane and possibly Sydney.

The gelding is one of four horses Heathcote will have in Saturday’s Open Hcp (1350m) at Doomben as he plans to keep the momentum going for his best start to a season in years.

Heathcote has had 40 overall winners and leads the Brisbane premiership with 29 wins.

He will saddle Lordag, Saluter, Jopa and Volkhere in the race which features several horses resuming with the summer feature races in mind.

Lordag raced well in stakes races during the winter without winning and Heathcote thinks he is ready to take another step this summer.

“At this stage we are looking at races such as the Bernborough Handicap on New Year’s Eve which I have won a few times,” Heathcote said.

“But if he is going well enough we might even sneak down to Sydney for the (Group Two) Villiers Stakes in mid-December.”

“If he has taken a step up like I think, he should be ready for a race like that.”

Lordag has a win and a second from two starts at the Doomben 1350m and has also won first-up.

Heathcote also expects Saluter and Jopa to race well.

“Saluter again has a claim but the (outside) barrier is no great help. Jopa seems to save winning for Doomben and he loves the 1350 metres,” Heathcote said.

But it is the return of Volkhere that will have Heathcote on his toes.

“I know he is an eight-year-old but he was racing well in the winter when he was third in the JRA Cup behind Real Love and Sir John Hawkwood,” he said.

“That is terrific form for Brisbane staying races with Sir John Hawkwood later winning the ATC Metropolitan and Real Love running in races like the Caulfield Cup.”

“Then Volkhere got an abscess on a hoof and before we knew it three more came out,” Heathcote said.

“It has taken us a long time to get him right again so it will be interesting to see how he goes on Saturday.”

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