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Popular Heathcote pair on the way back from injury

Thu 1 July 2021

By Jordan Gerrans

As one stable favourite prepares for a “miraculous” return to the race track this Saturday at Caloundra, Brisbane trainer Rob Heathcote says another is just over a month away from getting back to the trials.

One of the more popular gallopers in Queensland, Dusty Tycoon, makes her return in a QTIS Three-Year-Old Handicap over 1000 metres at the Sunshine Coast on Saturday, just over seven months since the filly's last start.

The three-time winner from nine starts was unlikely to add to that career record earlier this year but has been installed as the equal-favourite with the TAB at $4.60 for Saturday’s comeback.

“It is somewhat miraculous that she has got back to this stage because she got an infection in her throat that required surgical intervention,” Heathcote recalled.

“The chances of recovery from something like this is low, less than 30 or 40 percent, and not only has she come back and she is going to race on Saturday, seemingly she has come back with her original high level of ability.

“It is still heart in your mouth stuff until she actually successfully races this Saturday, but just to get her back is great.

“Even the vet advice was that her chances at recovery were slim at best but she has come back and her lead-up jump-outs and trials have been super.

“We are hopeful she can get back to where she was before the injury and Saturday will tell us a lot more.”

The popular Written Tycoon filly, raced by Mirunners, had almost 100 people at a recent jump-out Heathcote estimates, which the experienced trainer says can only be a positive thing for the wider racing industry.

“There are 800 individual owners, they all just love her, she is the most popular horse in my stable,” Heathcote said.

“Just getting people to the races, you can see the looks on people's faces weather they own a small share in the horse or the entire horse, it is the same.

“People get the same thrill and enjoyment out of it; it is just wonderful.

“I can still remember her first ever run at Caloundra on a Saturday and they said the roar from the stands was bigger than the Caloundra Cup.”

The Heathcote team heads to the Sunshine Coast this Saturday with a team of four, including Emerald Kingdom in the Listed Glasshouse Handicap.

As one Heathcote galloper makes a return to the racetrack from injury this week, another will soon follow with Group 1 winner Rothfire also on the way back.

Last year's JJ Atkins champion is recovering from a leg injury and is likely to trial in the middle of August, before being planned towards a Sydney campaign, culminating in The Everest if all goes to plan.

“He is back in work and again; my hope is that he can come back, the signs are all very good,” Heathcote said.

“It has been 40 weeks of intensive rehab; we have got him back up and working successfully now and we are going to aim at the top.

“We will go back to Sydney and if he is sound and comes back to his full athletic ability, he is a Group 1 horse.

“The vet advice right now is positive that he will soon make a return to the races.”

Rothfire, a seven-time winner from just nine starts for almost $1 million in prize money, has been on the comeback trail since suffering the injury in the Group 1 Golden Rose in Sydney in September of last year.