Weight could force Hopfgarten interstate
A hike in the handicapper’s rating of class galloper Hopfgarten could mean he heads to Sydney after he runs at the Gold Coast on Saturday.
Hopfgarten, who will face a quality field in the Super Starfish Handicap (1400m), has paid the penalty for his impressive first-up win at Doomben two weeks ago with a 2.5kg weight rise.
However, trainer Rob Heathcote is more concerned about how he will place the horse in the longer-term as Hopfgarten also won two Group Three races as a three-year-old.
“I’m afraid he is going to be a horse which is going to stay up in the weights for the rest of his career,” Heathcote said.
“The same thing happened to my mare Fillydelphia. She won a black-type race as a three-year-old and then for the rest of her career she just about carried 58 or 59kg every start.
“But that is the way it is here with our good horses getting up in the weights quickly.
“It means we have to consider taking them interstate.”
Heathcote originally planned to aim Hopfgarten at the Recognition Stakes at Doomben on November 29 and Bernborough Handicap in Toowoomba on New Year’s Eve.
However, given his ratings rise the Villiers Stakes (1600m) at Randwick on December 13 has emerged as an option.
“He would be suited in a race like that and we will look seriously at it if he races well on Saturday,” he said.
Meanwhile, Heathcote’s star galloper Buffering is enjoying some brief respite in the paddock before his next venture to Hong Kong.
Buffering ran a brave fourth to Terravista in the Group One Darley Classic on Saturday, his third run during a Melbourne spring carnival that also netted a Group One win in the Moir Stakes.
“He showed us he was well and truly up to a trip to Hong Kong. He had three Group One runs in Melbourne and you had to be happy with every one of them,” Heathcote said.
“Buffering is booked to leave on December 1 and a group of about 15 of us are going up to support him.
“He deserves his chance on the international stage.”