Rob Heathcote’s flying three-year-old Hopfgarten is one of the headliners nominated for Saturday’s Fred Best Classic 2014 at Doomben Racecourse this Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival.
There are 23 early entries for this year’s $125,000 Group 3 Ascend Sales Trophies Fred Best Classic (1350m), including Mossman gelding Hopfgarten looking to keep their ace record going.
A winner of five of their fifteen starts to date they’ve won their past four on the trot this autumn – winter season starting with one over this track and distance in early March.
After that they’ve gone through the grades and gone up in distance, Hopfgarten most recently seen winning the Group 3 Gunsynd Classic (1600m) at Eagle Farm on April 26.
There they put one and a quarter lengths on Avalanches after overcoming the extreme outside barrier 14.
If accepted in the Fred Best Classic they’ll be dropping back from a mile to 1350m but will still likely jump one of the early favourites.
Also coming via a good run in the Gunsynd Classic is the fellow Heathcote-trained Olympic Anthem who ran fourth to their stable mate.
Another last start Group 3 winning three-year-old nominated for the Fred Best this year is Sydney raider Dothraki from the Rosehill stables of Gerald Ryan.
The Mossman colt ran third in the Gosford Guineas in the wet three back before a Group 2 Royal Sovereign Stakes fifth to Sidestep leading up to their win at the Gold Coast on May 3.
There they enjoyed a narrow victory in the Group 3 Gold Coast Guineas (1200m) that they’ll be looking to repeat in Brisbane on the weekend.
Other Gold Coast Guineas graduates in the Fred Best nominations include runner-up Safeguard for John O’Shea and the Roslyn Pratt-trained Tale Of The Cat gelding Palmera Lad.
Also coming off a win are the likes of Gillian Heinrich’s lightly-raced Gold Coast filly Casino Express having just her third start if accepted, undefeated local Comacina, the Les Ross-trained improver Friendly Dragon, Coffs Harbour visitor Lizards Lover and the Ciaron Maher-trained Srikandi coming off a Listed Silk Stocking victory on the Gold Coast.
Dubawi filly Srikandi is being considered for the Group 3 Glenlogan Park Stakes (1350m) Saturday week but is more likely to run in the Listed Juanmo Stakes (1200m) on Saturday for which she’s also nominated.
“I was going to send her to the Glenlogan, and she still might, but it’s set weights and penalties and it just doesn’t sit that well with her,” Maher told AAP.
“She gets a penalty for winning the race the other day and the older mares and better-performed mares meet her better on the weights at that weight scale.
“So we might go to the Listed race on Saturday over 1200m.”
Other notable hopes include Jason McLachlan’s Magic Millions Guineas third placegetter Enquare and Havana coming via a second in the Mick Dittman from last Saturday.
The complete Fred Best Classic 2014 nominations are listed below.
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2014 Fred Best Classic Nominations
Doomben Racecourse – 17/05/2014
|1||CASINO EXPRESS||Gillian Heinrich|
|2||COMACINA||John, Dan & Chris Meagher|
|5||FRIENDLY DRAGON||Les Ross|
|9||INTO THE RED||Kelso Wood|
|11||LIZARDS LOVER||Anthony Honess|
|12||MISS HUSSON||Bruce W Hill|
|13||OLYMPIC ANTHEM (NZ)||Robert Heathcote|
|14||PALMERA LAD||Roslyn Pratt|
|16||QUEEN OF THE LOCHS||Mick Mair|
|17||ROUGH COPY (NZ)||Wayne Hillis|
|19||SIR MOMENTS||Steven O’dea|
|20||SMART HUSS||John, Dan & Chris Meagher|
|23||VOODOO BLUE MAGIC||Les Ross|