Rothfire still a steal for Heathcote after costly error

He’s the horse Rob Heathcote paid for twice, but right now he would happily pay 10 times the amount again as Rothfire aims to enhance his reputation in Saturday’s Jewel Prelude at Doomben.

Heathcote secured Rothfire for $10,000 from breeders Gleeson Thoroughbreds. But in an internet phishing scam, he transferred funds to a fraudulent account and ended up having to pay the bill again.

“It went to someone in Nigeria or somewhere,” Heathcote said. “No sooner had I paid it and I received the bill from Gleesons. The bank said there was nothing that could be done, so I was on the back foot with him before I even started.”

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Rothfire will chasing his fourth straight win on Saturday at Doomben. Picture: AAPSource:AAP

Even at $20,000, Rothfire is shaping as a steal and Heathcote has already knocked back several huge offers for the gelding, who has won almost $232,000 in three starts.

“The only way he will go to Hong Kong is if I take him myself,” he said.

“A lot of the owners are new to racing. It’s just another example of how racing is not just for Kings and Queens, it’s for everybody.

“In this horse there are a lot of tradies, many of them with three per cent shares in a horse that can take them on a long journey.”

Rothfire is at prohibitive odds to make it four from four on Saturday and then he’s expected to win the $500,000 QTIS Jewel on the Gold Coast in a fortnight.

Heathcote is doing his best to temper expectations among the ownership group, many of which are in a horse for the first time.

“I’ve just told them to embrace the fact we’ve got very lucky and we’ve got a horse with exceptional talent, but racing can be a great leveller,” he said.

Trainer Robert Heathcote is excited about Rothfire’s potential. Picture: AAPSource:AAP

“Racing can rip you back to earth very quickly. While he does look special, he has a long way to go to get to the elite level.”

But Heathcote is struggling to contain the excitement, having seen Rothfire unbeaten in three race day starts, three trials and on the track.

“Certainly the signs are really encouraging. I haven’t seen the bottom of him yet and I haven’t even seen it in trackwork,” he said.

The one query for Rothfire on Saturday is if the track becomes rain affected and his trainer admits he’s as much in the dark as anybody, given the three wins have been at Eagle Farm.

Ladbrokes have marked Rothfire at $1.20 to win.

There’s been 10 two-year-olds start at $1.60 or shorter in Queensland this season and four of them have been beaten.

The most notable is Aleysa’s Dream (a winner yesterday at Rockhampton), who was bowled over as a $1.14 pop at Mackay in November.

Originally published asRothfire still a steal for Heathcote after costly error

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