Brisbane Handicap victor Hopfgarten will chase another ‘mile’ win in the Listed $175,000 Bernborough Handicap (1625m) at Toowoomba on December 31.
Hopfgarten was back in the winner’s stall at Doomben last Saturday after what trainer Robert Heathcote described as a ‘perfect ride’ for jockey Jim Byrne.
Byrne had the $5 favourite travelling in a prime position just off the pace before unleashing his winning run in the straight to score by three and a quarter lengths in the Listed $100,000 Ray Nolan Brisbane Handicap (1600m).
“It was a perfect ride from Jim. A 10 out of 10 ride,” Heathcote said.
Saturday’s win was Hopfgarten’s third over the ‘mile’ and Heathcote will now head to Toowoomba to tackle the Bernborough Handicap over the 1600m again.
“Hopfgarten looked to win pretty easy in the end and he’ll more than likely run in the Bernborough next even though he’ll probably get a lot of weight,” Heathcote said.
Heathcote had to watch the race from Hong Kong where he was preparing his stable star Buffering for the Group 1 HK$18.5m Longines Hong Kong Sprint (1200m) at Sha Tin last Sunday.
Buffering ran a brave sixth behind the Paul O’Sullivan trained Aerovelocity after overcoming an injury interrupted preparation.
Heathcote was glad to see Hopfgarten back in the winner’s stall after the four year old was on the end of severe interference before dropping out to finish at the tail of the field in the Listed $100,000 Tattersall’s Recognition Stakes (1630m) at Doomben a fortnight earlier.
The Gold Coast trained Rudy came from near last to take out the Recognition Stakes and then proved that was no fluke with a gallant win the Group 2 $175,000 Inglis Villiers (1600m) at Randwick last Saturday.
“One of the boys here watched Rudy win the Villiers and we all tuned in to hear Hopfgarten win later,” Heathcote said.
“Rudy’s win in the Villiers gave me a lot of confidence with Hopfgarten.”
Last Saturday’s win was Hopfgarten’s eighth from twenty-two starts and took his overall prizemoney to over $340,000.
The Brisbane Handicap win also took Heathcote to thirty-two wins for the 2014 – 2015 season, one win behind Tony Gollan in the tightly contested Brisbane trainer’s premiership.
Gollan, who wrestled the title away from Heathcote last season, currently leads the premiership with thirty-three wins but was without a winner at Doomben on the weekend.