By Glenn Davis
Former Sydney mare Stella Victoria showed she was a worthy Stakes contender after giving trainer Rob Heathcote an early double at Doomben on Saturday.
Heathcote won the opening race on the program with Alpine Dancer in the Cascade QTIS Three-Year-Old Handicap (1615m) before Stella Victoria completed a hat-trick of wins in the Pullman Brisbane Airport Class Six Plate (1350m).
Stella Victoria had little trouble in her victory when she cleared away for a dominant 2-3/4 length win over Our Jamaica with Splitter third, a further three-quarters of a length away.
The wins continued Heathcote’s recent outstanding strike rate and took his recent tally to eight wins from his past 17 starters.
“It’s been a good start to the season and I think in the last three weeks we’ve notched a double every Saturday,” Heathcote said.
Stella Victoria was formerly trained by David Payne in Sydney before being sent to Heathcote by one of his long-time clients, Wilf Mula, a former Australian Turf Club committeeman.
Mula and wife Rosemary made the trip to watch Stella Victoria’s past two wins but only just arrived in time to watch her latest triumph.
“The owners just made it to the track in time when her rider (Jeff Lloyd) was being legged up,” Heathcote said.
“I think she’s capable of winning a Stakes race and we’ve carefully looked at the program. I’m sure she’ll run 1600 metres and even 2000 metres later on.”
Heathcote is toying with sending Stella Victoria to Sydney to win Black-Type.
"I definitely think she's a Stakes mare but unfortunately there's nothing really sutable for her during the summer carnival," he said.
"After speaking with her owners she'll run here over 1615 metres at Doomben in two weeks then there's every possibility she'll go to NSW to run in a Stakes race."
Meanwhile weights students were off the mark when Heathcote’s earlier winner Alpine Dancer made it back-to-back wins in the QTIS Three-Year-Old Handicap.
Alpine Dancer was successful over the well supported Capitulate at Doomben 10 days ago but went into her Doomben assignment three kilograms worse off against the Toby Edmonds-trained galloper.
Ridden by Dale Smith, Alpine Dancer finished powerfully to down the fast finishing A Man To Match by a half neck with a further 1-1/4 lengths to third placegetter, Lope For Joya.
“It was a pleasant surprise to see Alpine Dancer win again,” Heathcote said.
“He was very raw and green when he first came into the stable and he still is.
“I’ll probably give him a break now but it was such a professional win he might have another run.
“I like him and it was good prizemoney.
“QTIS is the shining light for Queensland racing.”
Capitulate was the disappointment finishing fifth in the six-horse field.
Racing Queensland webnews September 29