Rothfire takes out the King Of The Mountain

Trainer Robert Heathcote took a risk sending Rothfire to Toowoomba not just at the horse’s first visit, but also one as a short-priced favourite in the $750,000 King Of The Mountain (1200m) at Toowoomba.

As Group 1 winner, expectations were high for Rothfire ($1.80), but rated by much of the opposition as a ‘weights certainty’, the Queensland pin-up galloper delivered in the second running of the state’s first slot race.

“He’s a little ripper,” Heathcote said.

“He was so cool, calm and collected today, which gave me a lot of confidence.

“At home, (staff member) Mel puts a crown on his box and calls him The King, so it’s fitting he’s been crowned the King Of The Mountain today.”

“It’s a miracle this horse is still racing. This was also his first appearance at this track, which takes a bit of getting used to.”

Jockey Ben Thompson claimed a second King Of The Mountain after steering the Tony and Maddysen Sears-trained Yellow Brick to victory on New Year’s Eve in 2022.

“It helps when you’re riding horses like Yellow Brick and a superstar like Rothfire,” Thompson said.

“That makes my job a lot easier. He’s raced at the highest level, finished second in a Group 1 to Think About It and also second to Imperatriz.

“So that made it pretty daunting for the opposition even though he had to carry 60 kilos against a lot of locally-trained horses.

“Plus, his task was made even harder when we drew the outside gate.”

For the Sears team, Steady Ready ($10) finished third in the inaugural running of the event 12 months ago with the now four-year-old following-up to run second this time by a neck-margin

For Heathcote, he is satisfied to have Rothfire springboarding into a Gold Coast appearance on January 13.

“He’s only narrowly won, but I’ll take any winning margin and he’s done his job now because he gets into the Magic Millions event, which is worth $1 million,” Heathcote added.

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