Eagle Farm Group 1 JJ Atkins winner 2YO gelding Rothfire trained by Rob Heathcote receives a kiss from his strapper and regular trackwork rider Melanie Webb. Picture: Racing Queensland.
Rothfire sets track record in Group 1 win.
AN Eagle Farm 1400m track record of 1:21.06 allowed Rothfire to end the debate once and for all as to who is Queensland’s premier 2YO with a dominant three lengths victory in the Group 1 JJ Atkins at Eagle Farm.
Having paid not once but twice for the Rothesay gelding after being caught up in an internet phishing scam, Rob Heathcote secured his first Group 1 victory on home soil as Jim Byrne steered him to his sixth win from just seven starts, with a second placing to Kisukano in the QTIS 2YO Jewel at the Gold Coast the only blemish to his name. Heathcote’s other Group 1 winners were Dubai Al Quoz Sprint victor Buffering (seven), dual Toorak Handicap winner Solzhenitsyn and Oakleigh Plate winner Woorim.
“He climbed his Everest today and note that I did use the word ‘Everest’,” Heathcote told Sky Thoroughbred Central. “He will spell now. We haven’t put anything in concrete as there are a stack of races for him – a race like the Coolmore at Flemington could be perfect. But I have had some talks about The Everest and I am not talking out of turn. I did an interview with MiRunners. We know that they have bought a slot and they told me the other day that he’s certainly in the running for their spot,” he said.
Chinchilla breeder Wally Gleeson (right) with Thoroughbred Breeders Queensland Association president Basil Nolan, Raheen, Gladfield.
The Gleeson family bred last week’s Group 1 JJ Atkins winner Rothfire.
BACK in 1971 Chinchilla rider Wally Gleeson created headlines when he rode 100-1 shot Gallant Duke to victory in a Corinthian Handicap for amateur jockeys at Eagle Farm with the treble paying about $99,000 for a 50 cents investment.
Now almost 50 years later, Gleeson, wife Jill and three sons Simon, Jacob and Tom have again created headlines as the breeders of Group 1 JJ Atkins winner Rothfire trained by Rob Heathcote.
Gleeson never rode in a Group 1 race, but for the record he began riding at 16 years old and from 1967 to 1973 rode more than 200 winners against amateur and professional jockeys around the Darling Downs and western Queensland. This included two of the six Corinthians held in Brisbane. Gallant Duke was the first followed by Countless in 1973.
While Rothfire has been dubbed the ‘Thrilla from Chinchilla’, Gleeson got an equal thrill over the weekend with four individual winners in Queensland, Victoria and South Australia bred at the family’s Chinchilla property. In addition to Rothfire, other winners were Our Alicia’s Lane (Charters Towers), Amorem (Yeppoon), Power Boom (Pakenham) and Alleboom (Balaklava). In addition, multiple Macau winner Golden Conqueror was also bred by the Gleesons.
Rothfire and Golden Conqueror are both by Fastnet Rock’s Group 2 Queensland Guineas winning son Rothesay now standing at Lyndhust Stud, Warwick. He joins a list of at least six other sons of Fastnet Rock to sire Group 1 winners in Australia and New Zealand. They include El Roca, Foxwedge, Hinchinbrook, Stryker and Wanted. Gleeson bought a share in Rothesay when he first began stud duties at GlenloganPark in 2011 and has maintained the faith since culminating in Rothfire’s Group 1 win.