Wet track specialist Hopfgarten has firmed noticeably in the betting at Ladbrokes.com.au for the Group 2 $200,000 Ellyce Galvin Victory Stakes (1200m) at Eagle Farm on Saturday.
The prospect of a wet track is the catalyst for Hopfgarten’s price shortening from $8.50 to be well in contention at $6 with Ladbrokes.com.au who have top Doomben 10000 chance Music Magnate as the $2.30 favourite.
In normal circumstances the 1200m of the Victory Stakes at Group 2 level would be out of Hopfgarten’s range but trainer Robert Heathcote said that the state of the Eagle Farm track will suit the six year old following a pleasing gallop on Tuesday morning.
“I wasn’t going to accept with him originally, but he handled it brilliantly on Tuesday morning and with the race looking a bit thin, I decided to roll the dice and run,” Heathcote told The Courier-Mail.
“He trialled at Deagon and while he trialled well, (jockey) Damian Browne felt he might have needed another week before going to the races.
“But I think he’s come on really well since last week and I’m happy to have a crack at this race. He won the second ever race they had at the new Eagle Farm and I’ve been sweating on a wet track for him and he gets both of those (Saturday).”
The Eagle Farm has been rated a Soft 7 on Friday and has come under heavy criticism recently for not performing up to expectations following a total track reconstruction that was completed twelve months ago but Heathcote said that Hopfgartern handled the conditions well in a special gallop on the course proper on Tuesday morning.
Hopgfgarten has been out of the winner’s stall since his victory in the Listed $100,000 RadioTAB The Wayne Wilson Mile (1600m) at Eagle Farm last June but did show some spring in his step with a Deagon barrier trial win over 1050m on April 18.
Ronnie Stewart gets the ride on the Mossman gelding who is resuming from a spell and hasn’t raced since running eighth to Testashadow in the $1m Woodford Reserve Magic Millions Cup (1400m) at the Gold Coast on January 14.
Victory Stakes favourite Music Magnate has had a freshen up since being a well beaten twelfth to Russian Revolution in the Group 1 $700,000 Nathan’s Famous Hotdogs Galaxy (1100m) at Rosehill on March 18 but has shown that he is back on track with a six lengths barrier trial win at Warwick Farm on April 21.