Premiership winning trainer Robert Heathcote is confident Hopfgarten can turn the tables on Traveston Girl when they next meet after he was nosed out in the Listed $100,000 Queensland Bus Industry Council Brisbane Handicap (1640m) at Doomben last Saturday.
Traveston Girl with only 54kg on her back was sent out as the short priced $2.80 favourite to make it back to back wins over the Doomben mile after an all the way win two weeks earlier in the Listed $100,000 Tattersall’s Recognition Stakes (1600m).
Winning jockey Tegan Harrison had no hesitation in taking Traveston Girl to the lead again after she exploded from the starting gates and gave her easy time in front for the first half of the race.
But Craig Williams on Hopfgarten ($6.50) was not going to let the favourite too far out of his sights and started to put pressure on her approaching the home turn.
Under his top wright of 59kg Hopfgarten got on equal terms with Traveston Girl on the home turn and gained a head advantage half way down the straight but Harrison was able to lift the Flying Spur mare and with her 5kg weight advantage was able to fight back and gain a nose victory.
Gollan was more than pleased with the results and suggested that Traveston Girl would be even better next start in the Listed $175,000 Bernborough Handicap (1600m) at Doomben in a fortnight but Heathcote declared that Hopfgarten would be fitter and would reverse last Saturday’s result.
“I knew he would be a bit soft at the end of the race because he had a little break since coming back from Melbourne. We hadn’t done a lot with him,” Heathcote said.
“We will meet Traveston Girl two more times this summer and we will beat her.”
Gollan said that he wasn’t surprised when Traveston Girl fought back in the straight when clearly headed and noted that she had done that before in previous races.
“I knew she would fight back when headed because she has done it even in Group One races,” Gollan said.
“We knew there wouldn’t be much pace in the race and Tegan was able to run it to suit her.”
Following their clash in the Bernborough Handicap, Traveston Girl and Hopfgarten will meet again in the $1m Magic Millions Trophy (1800m) at the Gold Coast on January 9.