Trainer Robert Heathcote’s policy of bringing his young horses along slowly should again reap dividends when his main winter carnival hope Zofonic Dancer resumes at Doomben.
Zofonic Dancer, who has won four of his five starts, is one of three top chances Heathcote has in the Mandate Three-Year-Old Handicap (1350m) on Saturday.
Heathcote is again having a strong season and is second on the metropolitan premiership with 38 winners of which about 65 per cent are made up of his two and three-year-olds.
A multiple Brisbane premiership-winning trainer, Heathcote is best known for the deeds of his sprinters headed by champion Buffering, a multople Group One winner in Australia and successful at that level in Dubai.
Heathcote believes that to be successful a stable needs to have a constant flow of handy horses and to do that patience is needed.
“You obviously won’t always get a Buffering but you have to bring your horses through in races they can win,” Heathcote said.
“You will get some horses who are early comers but with many you have to give them time.”
Heathcote is hoping Zofonic Dancer can develop into a Queensland Derby horse this preparation.
“He is by the sire Zoffany and you don’t see the best of them until they get out to 2000 metres and further,” he said.
“He has just kept improving and this could be the start of a big campaign.
“Zofonic Dancer is typical of our policy of not rushing them as he didn’t race until September last year and was given plenty of time.”
Heathcote two other three-year-olds in the Mandate Handicap are Trommelschlagen and Don’t Leave Me Out.
“They have been consistent performers after both were not being rushed to the racetrack,” he said.
“They are both getting used to city Saturday races and are holding their form.”
Don’t Leave Me Out was the TAB’s favourite on Thursday at $3.80 with Zofonic Dancer at $7 and Trommelschlagen at $9.