Rob Heathcote’s last start Brisbane Handicap winner Hopfgarten heads the field and weights for the Bernborough Handicap 2014 at Queensland’s Toowoomba Racecourse this Wednesday evening in the New Year’s Eve showdown.
A key summer racing feature in the sunshine state, this year’s $175,000 Listed City Of Toowoomba / Toowoomba Regional Council Bernborough Handicap (1625m) has attracted a final field of 12 milers.
Set to carry the 59kg top weight from barrier six with Damian Browne in the saddle is Heathcote’s Group 3 winning Mossman gelding Hopfgarten.
The now four-year-old won the Group 3 Sunshine Coast Guineas (1600m) back in late June and before returning on November 1 to defeat subsequent Group 2 Villiers Stakes winner Rudy first-up at Doomben over 1350m.
He then improved on two disappointing runs later that month, including a dead last when 13th to Rudy in the Listed Recognition Stakes (1630m) on November 29, to re-entre the winners’ stall at Doomben on December 13 with a three and a quarter length victory over Perfect Punch in the Listed Brisbane Handicap (1600m).
It is that form Heathcote will be hoping he brings to Toowoomba on Wednesday night when he runs in Race 6 at 8:35pm (local).
Brisbane Handicap runner-up Perfect Punch also backs up in the Bernborough Handicap, Maryann Brosnan’s Gold Coast-trained gelding out to turn the tables on Hopfgarten.
The Starcraft six-year-old was defeated by a notable margin last time out on the back of a 1516m win at Lismore a fortnight earlier and will need to be improving from barrier four with Jim Byrne replacing Rick McMahon in the saddle.
Along with Hopfgarten there are four other last start winners in the mix including the Barry Baldwin-trained Flying Home (barrier seven) who won over 2200m at Doomben on December 13 and so is dropping back notably in distance for this.
Graeme Boyd’s Kiwi mare Tarloshan meanwhile continues her Australian raid here after the five-year-old won the Listed Just Now Stakes (1350m) at Doomben a fortnight ago.
Veteran seven-year-old Extreme Mover, consistent Casino Prince gelding Sigmund coming off an Ipswich win over the mile for local Toowoomba trainer Ben Currie and their stable mate Great Game are the others after back-to-back wins here.
Following Hopfgarten in the Bernborough Handicap weights meanwhile are the Rex Lipp-trained Group 1 winner Tinto (58kg) on the rails and Time To Plunder (56.5.kg) also drawn well with barrier two.
Four-year-old Red Dazzler mare Tinto won the Group 1 Queensland Oaks (2400m) at Eagle Farm back during the Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival and has been in good form again this time in.
She resumed with a second in the Listed Tattersall’s Classic (1200m) on November 29 then finished third to fellow Bernborough hopeful Tarloshan in the Just Now Handicap on December 13.
Liam Birchley’s Time To Plunder meanwhile won the Listed Keith Noud Handicap (1200m) back on November 22 before a seventh in the Group 3 George Moore Stakes (1200m) and a last start sixth behind Big Money in the Listed Lough Neagh Stakes (1350m) on December 20.
See below for the full Bernborough Handicap 2014 field, barriers, jockeys and weights.
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2014 Bernborough Handicap Final Field & Barrier Draw
Toowoomba Race 6 (8:35pm) – 31/12/2014
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Br.||Wgt.||Hcp. Rating|
|1||11041×1901||HOPFGARTEN||Robert Heathcote||Damian Browne||6||59kg||99|
|2||2881218×23||TINTO||Rex Lipp||Timothy Bell||1||58kg||101|
|3||x699622176||TIME TO PLUNDER||Liam Birchley||Larry Cassidy||2||56.5kg||94|
|4||009×394041||FLYING HOME||Barry Baldwin||Jeff Lloyd||7||54.5kg||90|
|5||12x0112x91||TARLOSHAN (NZ)||Graeme Boyd||Robbie Fradd||12||54kg||93|
|6||0198012412||PERFECT PUNCH||Maryann Brosnan||Jim Byrne||4||54kg||87.5|
|7||9751834158||EQUISSENTIAL||Neville Saunders||Luke Tarrant (a)||3||54kg||83|
|8||2×33271131||SIGMUND||Ben Currie||Luke Dittman (a)||5||54kg||82|
|9||5295222871||EXTREME MOVER||Patrick Sexton||James Orman (a)||8||54kg||80|
|10||674060×270||KISS ME DEADLY||Matt Kropp||Brendon Newport (a)||11||54kg||79.5|
|11||75x3122x31||GREAT GAME||Ben Currie||Ryan Wiggins||9||54kg||79|
|12||9645621113||UNDER THE LEANER||Kevin Kemp||Skye Bogenhuber||10||54kg||77.5|