Rob Heathcote can cap a career-best winter carnival when he saddles up Our Lukas in the Ipswich Cup this Saturday. The NZ bred gelding won the Ipswich Cup last year and he tuned up for this year’s event with an impressive last-start victory in the Listed Strawberry Road Handicap at Eagle Farm.
Heathcote was confident heading into the Strawberry Road Hcp following on from the gelding’s second behind Rothesay in the G3 Lord Mayor’s Cup in May. The winner franked the form with a brilliant victory in the G2 Queensland Guineas.
“I was surprised so many people steered away from him last time because his run behind Rothesay was huge,” said Heathcote. “He had to make two or three runs that day and he dropped 5kg so we were quietly confident.
“He had a few problems with his feet during his first couple of runs this prep. We gave him a break and he came back and ran a blinder with 59kg in the Lord Mayor’s Cup.
Heathcote said the New Zealand tearaway Sir Time Keeper would have a bearing on the way the race is run. “With Sir Time Keeper engaged, I don’t think my horse will lead like he did last year. But that’s a good thing with him too. He’s very versatile.
“Last year I was very confident because he was in on the minimum weight. This year I’m pleasantly surprised it’s all come together. Four weeks ago I was starting to doubt him but now I know he’ll shake the life out of it again.”
Heathcote and Katsidis believe the step up to 2150m at Ipswich and an outside barrier will also be beneficial this Saturday. “I generally like to draw out on him because you can take your time going forward,” Katsidis revealed. “I was lucky in the Strawberry Road because we followed Rockdale and he gave us a nice drag into the race.”
Our Lukas (6g Generous – Parfore by Gold Brose) is a younger half-brother to winners Our Boy Lukas (Faltaat) and Frustrating (Stravinsky) He is also a full brother to NZ winner Ininthree.
His dam Parfore is a sister to the dam of NZ 2yo G1 winner Il Quello Veloce (Captain Rio) and second dam Classy Twiggy (Twig Moss) was a Listed winner of the VRC Vanity Stakes. Parfore has a 2yo colt named Tiger Tees (Dubawi), a yearling colt by Darci Brahma and a weanling colt by Captain Rio.