Racing: Woorim tipped to deliver on big stage

Queensland trainer Robert Heathcote is backing Woorim to match the finishing sprint of the heavyweights in the Emirates Stakes at Flemington today.

A noted backmarker, Woorim returned to his best form with a barnstorming victory in the group three Stakes (1400m) on Derby Day and Heathcote believes he can now deliver on the big stage over 1600m.

He is both a dual group three and dual listed winner and showed he was capable at the elite level when third in last year's Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield.

Heathcote said the 6-year-old had been plagued by foot problems throughout his career and blamed his tender hooves for a form lapse this spring.

Woorim won at Moonee Valley on September 10 but disappointed at his next three runs which included a sixth to King Mufhasa in the Toorak Handicap (1600m) at Caulfield on October 8.

"We never actually believed he was out of form," Heathcote said.

"He is one of those difficult horses who need things in his favour, namely a track that is suitable for him, which is one with a little bit of give in it because he has got such dodgy feet, and a race with genuine speed.

"He was starting to feel his feet hence the reason he had three weeks between runs going into that race last Saturday but he's good now."

He said Derby Day conditions were ideal with a strong pace and that he should again get suitable ground and speed in the Emirates.

Cox Plate runner-up Jimmy Choux is the 58kg topweight and Woorim, who will again be ridden by Michael Rodd, drops 2kg on his Derby Day win to 54kg.

"I am taking nothing away from Jimmy Choux, he's won a couple of million and there are a stack of horses in this race that have won $1 million, but I am confident that Woorim's finishing sprint is as good as anything else in the race when conditions suit," Heathcote said.

"He's a pretty handy horse and barrier eight is just about perfect for him. He's going to get back and be in the second half of the field but might not have to get right back to the tail.

"The horse has backed up successfully in the past having done it in Brisbane a couple of times with success and he also did it in Melbourne last year. It is just a matter of circumstances falling in his favour and hopefully they will and we can knock off a big one."

Meanwhile, Heathcote is keen for Fillydelphia to add to her black-type record over the summer but fears she may be vulnerable at Doomben today.

Fillydelphia scored a decisive victory in the Group Three Rough Habit Plate at Doomben in May and she will be out to further boost her stud value after the 'Perfect Italiano' Open Handicap (1350m).

Stablemate Humma will make his comeback after a six-month break in the same race.

Heathcote is confident stablemate Racing Heart can win today's Coca-Cola Amatil Open Handicap (2100m).


- NZ Herald

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