Eagle Farm track a great leveller for Hopfgarten in Victory Stakes

Trainer Rob Heathcote will ‘roll the dice’ with Hopfgarten in the Victory Stakes on Saturday. Picture: Tara Croser.


WHILE rivals were busy making contingency plans to run at different venues, it was the fact Saturday’s Victory Stakes is being held at Eagle Farm that swayed Rob Heathcote to run Hopfgarten in the Group 2 feature.

Heathcote knows Hopfgarten isn’t sharp enough to compete with the southern speedsters on a hard track at 1200m, but hopes the more testing Eagle Farm on a likely soft track will even the score up.

“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 said.

“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).”

Heathcote holds a strong hand at the meeting, with Privlaka likely to run favourite in the final event, Kubis a leading Gunsynd hope and stable newcomer Trevinder in the opening event.

“Kubis is a half-brother to the Canterbury Guineas winner Jymcarew, so there’s a bit of substance in the family and he’s been desperately looking for the mile. (Jockey) Jeff (Lloyd) said they just ran him off his feet last time at 1350m.

“Privlaka looks in the right race this time. He just needed another stride or two to win at Toowoomba, so he’s suited to 1300m now. I do like the look of Trevinder. He seems to have come up really well.”

Trainer Kelly Schweida confesses to being in the dark as to how Miss Cover Girl might go in the Victory.

“She was a little bit average on Tuesday morning (at the wet Eagle Farm gallops) and she’s coming off a couple of below par runs last time in,” he said. “Against that, she’s never really been at her best in the summer on the hard tracks. So I’m really not sure. This track is so unpredictable and at least mine is a Group 1 winner on it and her fresh record is pretty good.”

Miss Cover Girl is scheduled to be sold at the Magic Millions National Broodmare Sale next month so Schweida is only assured of another start or two with her before she likely goes to new owners

Story Courtesy Nathan Exelby – Brisbane Courier Mail


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