Trainer Robert Heathcote is confident that Hopfgarten will again relish the conditions at Eagle Farm on Saturday when he takes his place in the field for the featured Group 1 Darley Kingsford-Smith Cup (1300m).
The Eagle Farm Racecourse has far from lived up to expectations since renovations were completed prior to last year’s Brisbane Winter Carnival and the course has continued to experience issues, including a recent occasion whereby the track was rated a ‘Heavy 8’, despite having not experienced any rain throughout the week prior.
Hopfgarten has typically performed at his best on rain-affected and soft tracks and Heathcote is confident that the horse is capable a running a cheeky race when he takes his place in the 2017 Darley Kingsford-Smith Cup field.
“The reason I am running Hopfgarten in the Kingsford-Smith is he has raced so well at Eagle Farm previously,” Heathcote told Racenet.
“In my experience, horses either cope with Eagle Farm or they don’t.
“It is not necessarily just wet trackers who cope with Eagle Farm. Some of the wet trackers don’t cope with it, but some non-wet-trackers do run well there.
“I wouldn’t say I’m flowing with confidence going into the Kingsford-Smith Cup but my horse does run well there and he carries weight well.”
Hopfgarten has been a strong and largely consistent performer for Heathcote throughout his entire racing career so far and will take his place in the Darley Kingsford-Smith Cup field with a positive record of eleven wins and ten minors, through forty-eight appearances.
Set on an interstate mission through the recent Spring Carnival, Hopfgarten ran fourth in the Listed Paris Lane Handicap (1400m) first-up and while failing to fire in the Group 3 Ladbrokes Moonga Stakes (1400m), responded with a strong performance for sixth in the Group 1 Cantala Stakes (1600m).
Placing second in the Listed Recognition Stakes (1400m) and fifth in the Group 2 Villiers Stakes (1600m), the Mossman gelding returned to Brisbane for third in the Listed Bernborough Handicap (1600m) and ended his campaign eighth in the Magic Millions Cup (1400m).
Trialling well in the lead-up to his Brisbane Winter Carnival campaign, Hopfgarten ran a pleasing second behind Music Magnate in the Group 2 Victory Stakes (1200m) first-up on April 29th.
Hopfgarten is currently available at early 2017 Darley Kingsford-Smith Cup odds of $17 at Ladbrokes.com.au.