Hopfgarten’s condition and form has pleased Robert Heathcote through recent weeks, and the notable Queensland trainer is confident the horse is a serious chance of success in Saturday’s Listed Bernborough Handicap (1615m) at Doomben.
Hopfgarten has been a strong and consistent performer for Heathcote since first appearing on course competitively in 2013; posting nine wins and a further seven minors through a total of thirty-three starts.
Returning this time for a luckless twelfth in the Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on September 26th, highlighted by the fastest final sectional of any runner, the Mossman gelding was unable to figure late when tenth in the Group 1 Toorak Handicap (1600m) but ended his maiden Melbourne campaign sixth in each of the Group 2 Crystal Mile (1600m) and Listed Symphony Stakes (1800m).
Having returned to Brisbane for a close second behind in-form mare Traveston Girl in the Listed Brisbane Handicap (1640m) a fortnight ago, Heathcote told Racing Ahead he believes Tony Gollan’s star mare will again be tough to overcome in the Bernborough Handicap but is confident Hopfgarten is up to the mark.
“Hopfgarten was fantastic last start,” Heathcote said.
“He hadn’t run since he ran down at Flemington on Cup Day and carried a big weight against the in-form mare Traveston Girl.
“We line up against her 1.5kgs better and I feel we had to ride Hopfgarten outside his comfort zone by going and sitting outside the leader and she fought back on the line.
“Full respect to her, she’s going to be very, very hard to beat and Tony Gollan’s got her flying but with Hopfgarten, the 1.5kgs may make a difference.”
Hopfgarten returned to racing this year for an impressive win over notable competition in the Canadian Club Handicap (1350m) on March 28th; progressing to second in the Listed Tails Stakes (1630m) and third in the Toowoomba Cup (2150m) before placing an impressive fifth in the featured Group 1 Doomben Cup (2000m) most notably on May 9th.
Ladbrokes.com.au is currently offering the best 2015 Bernborough Stakes odds, for which Hopfgarten can be taken at a quote of $4.80 for success.