ROBERT Heathcote is in no hurry to lock in Hopfgarten’s summer schedule until the dust settles on his immediate goal, the $102,000 Tatersall’s Recognition Stakes (1630m) at Doomben tomorrow.
Hopfgarten opened his current campaign with a fightning win at Doomben on November 1.
The son of Mossman had excuses when finishing well down the order at the Gold Coast two weeks later as Heathcote explained.
“He was a little bit tender behind and I’m pretty sure he tweaked a muscle when he jumped because the rider said he jumped really well and was just about to get into his stride but then he dropped the bit and drifted back and couldn’t maintain momentum,” he said.
The main issue of concern was soreness across Hopfgarten’s back but Heathcote reported that the gelding has responded well to on-going chiropractic work.
“I gave him a pretty searching gallop on Tuesday morning and he came through in flying colours so while there has always got to be a little element of caution after a horse hurts himself I am going to the races on Saturday that he’ll go well. He loves the mile, it’s his favourite distance,” said Heathecote.
“The draw (10) is a bugger, I was hoping for a better draw because it’s essential at Doonmben that you get a good run around there but I think I am going to leave it up to Damian (Browne), I’ll talk the easy way out and blame the jockey.”
Hopfgarten has won two of his four attempts at the mile including the Sunshine Coast Guineas and Gunsynd Classic both at Group 3 level.
“There is another couple of mile races up here leading into the Bernborough just after Christmas which is going to be held up at Toowoomba and is a $100,000 race,” Heatchote said.
“I am not ruling out the Villiers, but he’d want to run right up to best on Saturday and if he was to do that and win, then maybe a trip to Sydney is on the cards.”