Rothesay sires first Group 1 winner.
The Robert Heathcote-trained Rothfire (2 g ex Huss On Fire by Hussonet) proved a cut above his rivals in the JJ Atkins Stakes (Gr 1, 1400m) at Eagle Farm on Saturday and in the process became Rothesay’s (Fastnet Rock) first Group 1 winner.
Sent out favourite, the gelding gave Heathcote his 11th Group 1 win but his first in Queensland when he beat Gotta Kiss (Not A Single Doubt) by three and a quarter lengths, while The Drinks Cart (Unencumbered) was another long neck away in third.
Heathcote said after the race that he would be eyeing a tilt at the Everest (1200m) next season.
“Wow. He is some horse. I have been saying for months he is doing things even my multiple Group 1 winner Buffering couldn’t at the same stage,” Heathcote said.
“I have been a nervous wreck all week. But when you have a jockey like Jim Byrne you have a big start.
“He is so experienced and calm. He didn’t panic when he couldn’t lead and ended up getting the run of the race.”
Heathcote said Rothfire would now go for a spell and come back for the spring.
“We haven’t put anything in concrete as there are a stack of races for him,” Heathcote said.
“But I have had some talks about The Everest and I am not talking out of turn.
“This bloke can take me around the world.”
Rothfire is one of six foals and three winners out of the unraced Hussonet (Mr Prospector) mare Huss On Fire, who was bought by Wally Gleeson for $9,500 at the 2010 Inglis Sydney Easter Broodmare Sale, and becomes the first stakes winner in three generations of his family.
Huss On Fire’s grandam Verscay (Marscay) is a three-quarter sister to Listed winner Romare, while further back this is the family of Group 3 winner Vertingly (Bletchingly).
Rothfire joins Group 3 winner Chapter And Verse, Listed winners Havasay, In His Stride, Too Good Too Refuse and Over Exposure as Rothesay’s other stakes winners and he stood at Lyndhurst Stud Farm in 2019 covering 98 mares at a fee of $4,950 (inc GST).
Rothfire was one of two Group 1 winners out of Hussonet (Mr Prospector) mares on Saturday, with Stradbroke Handicap (Gr 1, 1400m) winner Tyzone (Written Tycoon) being the other, taking his tally of Group 1 producing daughters to 23.
Rothfire was bred by Queensland-based operation Gleeson Thoroughbreds, who were celebrating their first Group 1 victory on Saturday and Simon Gleeson – the son of owners Wally and Jill – described the win as very satisfying for the small family run farm.
“I have to admit it is a big thrill for us to breed a Group 1 winner for a very small farm,” Gleeson told Racing And Sports Bloodstock. “We’ve only got 20 broodmares and we also have a share in Rothesay.
“We only really sell ten yearlings a year – so it’s a really big thrill. It is our first Group 1 winner so there will be a few celebrations tonight, we’ll get all the family together.”
Gleeson also said he expects the gelding to improve as a three-year-old.
“He is very exciting – looking at his breeding it would suggest that he would be a better three-year-old than two-year-old, Rothesay wasn’t a two-year-old, but was a really good three-year-old and they generally get better as they get older.
“But I think a really important aspect of this horse is temperament. The trainer said to me today that he really had to give him wake him up before the race – he is that relaxed. He is a really beautiful animal to do anything with.”
Gleeson said MiRunners – who gained a slot for the lucrative Everest (1200m) in May – had expressed interest in the gelding to represent them in the $15 million contest in October.
“MiRunners have formed a syndication called “MiEverest” and they are very keen to take the horse to The Everest – which would be a big thrill to have a runner in a race like that.”