Woorim scored a milestone win for Queensland trainer Robert Heathcote in the Oakleigh Plate
Robert Heathcote celebrated his biggest win in racing when Woorim scored a barnstorming victory in today's $400,000 Sportingbet Oakleigh Plate at Caulfield.
The popular Heathcote has been Brisbane's leading trainer for the past few seasons, but before today hadn't been able to strike at the highest level.
That all changed when Woorim unleashed one of the most powerful finishes seen in an Oakleigh Plate to score a narrow win in a typically busy finish to Caulfield's premier sprint race.
The big gelding produced a 10.96-second final furlong to come from last at the 250m and get home from Elite Falls and fellow Queenslander Facile Tigre and send Heathcote into raptures.
“My first Group 1, there it is, wowee,” Heathcote said. “It's a Group 1, it's the golden chalice for a trainer and it's right up there with the highlight of my life. The usual clichés like the birth of our kids (is hard to beat), but it's certainly wonderful.”
Woorim stretched his record to 11 wins from 37 starts and cracked $1 million in earnings ($1,017,150) when he maintained his unbeaten record at 1100m.
The son of Show A Heart capitalised a clear run down the outside to get home in the final bound, leaving jockey Damian Browne thrilled to be a part of Heathcote's biggest success.
“I'm thrilled for Rob, especially it being his first Group 1,” Browne said. “He's been a big supporter of mine throughout my career and to come down here and get that for him is a great thrill.
“I thought it might have been a touch too short, but they went really quick early and he was flat the entire the trip. I had to pull the stick at the half-mile, but I knew he'd hit the line strong and I was just worried with how much start I'd given them.”
Woorim ($21) got home by a short half head from resuming Sydney filly Elite Falls ($51), who almost pulled off a training triumph for Sydney horseman John O'Shea, while Jason McLachlan's Facile Tigre ($26) was a long head away third, just in advance of First Command ($18).
Carrying 58kg proved too much for crack three-year-old Sepoy, who raced on the pace and kicked a length clear at the 150m but only battled the last 50m to finish in fifth spot, just a length from the winner.
Bel Sprinter ($3.30) was one of numerous hard-luck stories, buried away on the fence after missing the start before encountering traffic problems for most of the straight. The four-year-old finish sixth, just 1-1/2 lengths from Woorim.
The full result of the Sportingbet Oakleigh Plate is available here
- Racing Victoria