Every golfer dreams of hitting a hole-in-one but Rob Heathcote’s golfing mates are savouring something almost as satisfying.
When Heathcote and his regular golfing buddies were playing the eighth hole at Royal Queensland last month, the multiple Group 1 winning trainer told them he couldn’t believe his sprinter Emerald Kingdom was priced at $35 to win the Group 3 BRC Sprint at Doomben.
So the golfers clicked into their betting accounts and backed Heathcote’s horse, with the winner of that race offered a golden ticket into the $1.5m Stradbroke Handicap.
Not long after, when the BRC Sprint final field was declared and the barrier draw released, the golfing gang buttered up and bet again when Emerald Kingdom drifted to $51 after drawing a wide barrier.
Then they went again after a wine-soaked lunch that day when bookies were prepared to offer up $71.
“This is a golfer’s dream this horse,” golfer Marty Robson said.
“I took what I won from backing him that day out of my betting account and put it in my bank account and it has paid for about a third of a family holiday to New Zealand.
“Rob said to us on the eighth hole that morning he couldn’t believe it was $35.
“Then when we had another look on the 14th hole it was out to $51 after the barrier draw, so we went again.
“We finished golf and had a few wines and by the end of lunch it was out to $71 so we backed it again and also backed it the place at $18.
“We then told plenty of other blokes at the golf club to back it and basically everyone we ran into we told to have some money on this horse.”
Rob Heathcote’s golfing buddies will be backing Emerald Kingdom again. Picture: David ClarkSource:News Corp Australia
Emerald Kingdom did the right thing by the golfers, leading his rivals a merry dance in the BRC Sprint and qualifying for the Stradbroke Handicap as they counted their winnings.
The golfing mates will back Heathcote’s horse again in the big dance of the Stradbroke at Eagle Farm on Saturday, with the TAB currently offering up $23 and the likelihood that price could drift come raceday.
Heathcote said Emerald Kingdom, who has now won 10 from 24 starts, owes him nothing.
And especially since Heathcote’s wife Vicky is Emerald Kingdom’s owner.
Heathcote, an 11-time Group 1-winning trainer who is in search of his first Stradbroke Handicap, knows plenty of things will have to fall into place for his on-pace sprinter to be a chance of a surprise victory in Queensland’s most prestigious race.
Emerald Kingdom won the BRC Sprint at big odds. Picture: Trackside PhotographySource:Supplied
But he is convinced he will give a good sight and said the six-year-old gelding is as tough as old boots.
“Realistically he will need to run a career-best and circumstances will need to fall his way,” Heathcote said.
“But he’s one tough racehorse.
“My confidence is boosted by (jockey) Robbie Fradd who loves this horse.
“It is a free shot at the stumps.”
One thing is for sure and that is the Royal Queensland Golf Club will be pumping if Heathcote’s horse is in the finish on Saturday.
Golfers will be more concerned with looking at their phones to see vision of the Stradbroke rather than trying to sink clutch putts.
Originally published asGolfing mates after another fill-up with Stradbroke roughie
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