Heathcote Hoping Volkhere Will Lead In Ipswich Cup

Leading Brisbane trainer Robert Heathcote is chasing his third win in the Ipswich Cup on Saturday and is hoping that tough gelding Volkhere will be able to take up the running in the early stages of the race.

Robert Heathcote rates Volkhere as his best chance in the 2014 Ipswich Cup that will be run this weekend.

Robert Heathcote rates Volkhere as his best chance in the 2014 Ipswich Cup that will be run this weekend. Photo by: Daniel Costello

Heathcote won back-to-back editions of the Ipswich Cup with Our Lukas in 2009 and 2010, with the Generous gelding leading from start to finish in 2009, and the Group 1 winning trainer told Racing Ahead that he is hoping Volkhere can replicate that front running effort in this year’s edition of the Ipswich Cup.

“I certainly would like to see him in front,” Heathcote said.

“The Ipswich Cup is invariably an on-speed event, it has been in the last few years anyway, and he will be up there and hopefully handy.”

Volkhere made a slow start to his winter campaign, beating home just a single runner in the Winning Edge Signature Handicap (1400m) at Eagle Farm on April 19 and the XXXX Gold Handicap (1600m) at Doomben on May 10, but returned to a semblance of his best form and gave Heathcote some confidence with a third place finish behind Southerly in the Mittys Handicap (1800m) at Eagle Farm on May 31.

“Volkhere was a pleasing return to form at his last start,” Heathcote said.

“He toughed it out, he is fourth-up now, he has fresh legs and the distance is no concern for us.

“He is coming back to form and he is a flukish chance at about 12 or 13 to one.”

Heathcote will also have Sam’s Town in the 2014 Ipswich Cup field, but does not believe that the Danehill Dancer gelding is a realistic chance in the Listed event.

Sam’s Town has not score a race win since he took out the Hidden Dragon At Lyndhurst Handicap (2128m) at Eagle Farm in January last year and Heathcote expects the eight-year-old to struggle against the likes of Ironstein, Brave Ali and Garud in the Ipswich Cup on Saturday.

“Obviously Sam’s Town is really only in making up the numbers and there is not a lot of other options around for these open company stayers,” Heathcote said.

Gerald Ryan-trained Ironstein ($5.50) is currently a narrow favourite in the 2014 Ipswich Cup betting market at Ladbrokes Australia, but there has also been betting support for Brave Ali ($7), Garud ($7) and Angola ($9).

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Thomas Hackett

Thomas is a passionate and opinionated racing journalist and punter who has been obsessed with horse racing since he backed Saintly to win the 1996 Melbourne Cup. An international racing enthusiast, he has his finger on the pulse of racing news not just from Australia but all around the world.