While he might not be in the same league as his stablemate Buffering, Hopfgarten has been a grand servant for the Robert Heathcote stable, with his win in Saturday’s Listed Iga Sunshine Coast Ascot Handicap (1200m) taking his earnings to over half a million dollars.
With Damian Browne in the saddle, Hopfgarten came from the tail of the field to overpower Worthy Cause (Choisir) by half a length with Jessy Belle (Rock Of Gibraltar) a length back in third.
It was the fourth stakes win for the son of Mossman and his first since the Listed Brisbane Handicap at Doomben back in December 2014 taking his overall record to 10, 5 seconds and 2 thirds from 36 starts for earnings of $524,700
With Heathcote in Hong Kong looking after Buffering, stable foreman Mike O’Leary said Heathcote was considering the Group I Stradbroke Handicap on June 11 for Hopfgarten.
“Rob tried Hopfgarten as a stayer last year but this year he was keen to keep him to races up to 1600 metres,” O’Leary told AAP.
“We will still be doing that and Rob said not to rule out the Stradbroke.”
Bloodstock agent Paul Willetts needed just $22,000 to secure Mossman’s champion son Buffering but he had to part with $4,000 more to purchase Hopfgarten from the Enterprise Stud draft at the 2012 Magic Millions National Yearling sale.
The 5yo gelding is the second foal of the unraced O’Reilly mare Black Tourmaline whose dam Lei Lark (Kinjite) is a half-sister to Group III winner Forest Jim (Grosvenor).
The true class in Hopfgarten’s pedigree comes from Lei Lark’s granddam Leilani (Oncidium).
Trained by Bart Cummings, the near black Leilani won 14 races including the Caulfield Cup, AJC Oaks, Mackinnon Stakes, Australia Cup and Toorak Handicap.
The ever reliable Mossman is closing in on $5 million earnings for the season. The son of Success Express (USA) will be lining up for his 17th season this spring and despite being in the twilight of his career he represents a sound investment at his fee of $16,500 at Vinery Stud