Queensland trainer Robert Heathcote is banking on Hopfgarten’s class to get him over the line in tomorrow’s Listed Brisbane Handicap (1640m) at Doomben, reports horseracing.com.au.
The dual Gr3-winning 5YO has just returned from a Spring campaign in Melbourne where he finished unplaced in all four starts in elite company, including the Gr1 Toorak Handicap and Gr1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes, and Heathcote suspects he may need the outing.
“He might just need this run but you can never discount class as it can carry you a long way,” Heathcote said. “His barrier and his big weight are against him but he may be a little soft for this after just returning home from Melbourne.” He added: “If Hopfgarten was at the top of his game I’d be a lot more confident. I’ve just got a funny feeling he might need the run.”
After Saturday, Heathcote will use the Listed Bernborough Handicap (1600m) at Doomben in a fortnight as Hopfgarten’s final prep run for the $1 million Magic Millions Trophy (1800m) at the Gold Coast on 9 January. “He’ll be a lot fitter for his next run in the Bernborough Handicap then it’s on to the Magic Millions Trophy,” Heathcote said.