Trainer Robert Heathcote has confirmed that improving miler Hopfgarten will be sent to Melbourne to contest the 2015 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes at Caulfield on September 26.
Hopfgarten started his winter campaign with a win in the Canadian Club Handicap (1350m) at Doomben on March 28 and he performed well in the Listed Logic Tails Stakes (1630m) at the same venue on April 11.
He missed out on a start in the Group 2 Hollindale Stakes (1800m) and he instead finished third in the Toowoomba Cup (2150m) on May 2 before he was far from disgraced when fifth in the Group 1 Doomben Cup (2000m) on May 9.
Heathcote told Racing Ahead that he was happy with the Doomben Cup performance of Hopfgarten, but he now believes that the rising five-year-old is at his best over a mile and he said that the Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes, the Group 1 Toorak Handicap (1600m) at Caulfield on October 10 and the Group 1 Emirates Stakes (1600m) at Flemington on November 7 are all on the agenda for the Mossman gelding.
“I am looking to bring a horse called Hopfgarten down,” Heathcote said.
“He had a bit of an up and down Winter Carnival up here.
“We were planning to take him through to the Doomben Cup, but he missed a run in the Hollindale and I then had to go to the Toowoomba Cup.
“I thought Hopfgarten still ran respectable races, but I now believe that he is solely a miler and we will bring him down to Melbourne and target him for races like the Sir Rupert Clarke and possibly the Toorak Handicap.
“If he is racing well and he warrants a start then we will even looked at the Emirates.”
Heathcote has had plenty of success in Melbourne during the Spring Racing Carnival in recent years and he won the Toorak Handicap with Solzhenitsyn in both 2012 and 2013, while the tough gelding finished third in the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes on two occasions.
The leading Brisbane trainer believes that Hopfgarten is a similar horse to Solzhenitsyn at this stage of his racing career and he is hopeful that the gelding can make a similar step-up during the 2015 Spring Racing Carnival.
“That is the comparison I am making,” Heathcote said.
“I think that Hopfgarten is very much an improving type of horse.
“He came back in with Buffering and he looks in fantastic order.
“I am quite happy with him.”