Rivals Traveston Girl and Hopfgarten are set to clash again in the Listed $175,000 Treasury Casino & Hotel Bernborough Handicap (1615m) at Doomben on Saturday and as well as a pre-emptive battle to the finish line, the pair will be eye balling each other from the start.
The Tony Gollan trained Traveston Girl and Hopfgarten from the Robert Heathcote stable have drawn side by side in barriers eight and seven respectively in the final fourteen horse field and the two top fancies won’t be far from each other from the jump until the finish.
Only a nose separated the pair last start when Traveston Girl got the judge’s nod over Hopfgarten in the Listed $100,000 Queensland Bus Industry Council Brisbane Handicap (1640m) at Doomben last Saturday week.
Hopfgarten is set to meet his main rival 1.5kg better at the weights this week and Heathcote declared after the Brisbane Handicap that the five year old would strip fitter and turn the tables the next time they met.
“We will meet Traveston Girl two more times this summer and we will beat her,” Heathcote said.
Traveston Girl and Hopfgarten are also heading towards the $1m Magic Millions Trophy (1800m) at the Gold Coast on January 9.
Top Melbourne jockey Craig Williams rode Hopfgarten last start and is back in Brisbane again this week for the Origin Jockey Series and is aboard the Mossman gelding again.
Williams kept the front running Traveston Girl in his sights last start and won’t let Tegan Harrison get too far out of his reach again on the in-form mare.
Harrison has produced two well-judged rides out in front to claim both the Brisbane Handicap and the Listed $100,000 Tattersall’s Recognition Stakes (1600m) at Doomben two weeks earlier.
The rival Eagle Farm trainers will have multiple runners in the Bernborough Handicap with Gollan also saddling up Trakstar who has come up with the outside gate, while Heathcote will have Bewhatyouwannabe and Lordag also representing the stable.
Bewhatyouwannabe, with Michael Cahill from barrier four, is coming off a last start fourth in the Brisbane Handicap while Lordag, Jeff Lloyd from gate five, is stepping up in class after finishing third in a 1200m Class 6 Handicap at Doomben on December 5.
Shotover River has also chased home Traveston Girl at his last two starts with a second in the Recognition Stakes and third in the Brisbane Handicap and will need plenty of luck from barrier thirteen to change the result.
The in-form Brad Stewart takes over on Shotover River from apprentice Luke Dittman who has elected to stick with Sunshine Coast four year old Worthy Cause who has drawn well at barrier three.
Dittman and Worthy Cause combined for a win over the Melbourne Spring Carnival when they took out the Listed $120,000 Paris Lane Stakes (1400m) at Flemington on October 4 four runs back and were together again last start when third in the Group 3 $150,000 Eclipse Stakes (1800m) at Sandown on November 14.
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