Trainer Robert Heathcote has been critical of Brisbane’s handicapping system but believes the weight is now just about right for the consistent Jopa at Doomben.
The current rating system for Brisbane racing has been the subject of much debate and Jopa has been central to the argument.
He won an open handicap with 53.5kg after an apprentice’s claim but at his next start was given 59kg in similar company.
Heathcote was critical of the sharp rise in weights which were scaled to accommodate Brisbane’s automatic top weight.
Eventually, Heathcote used three-kilogram claiming apprentice Brooke Stower and Jopa ran third under 56kg.
“It sounds confusing and it is, but basically it comes down to someone’s opinion of a horse through its rating. They can go up and down for reasons which often leave everyone confused,” Heathcote said.
The trainer said this time around Jopa looked well placed in Saturday’s Hotel LA Open (1350m).
“With Locks Legend accepting Jopa got 58 kilos and after we claim with Brooke he looks well in with 55 on Saturday,” Heathcote said.
“It is a bit like a chocolate wheel and you hope your winning number comes up. The rain which has been about will suit Jopa but he can also handle dry tracks.”
Heathcote is a big fan of Stower who rode one leg of his double at Caloundra on Wednesday on Neuschwanstein.
“I like Brooke. She has the right attitude and she can ride light with her claim,” he said.
Heathcote has elected to run Lauterbrunnen, who was also entered for the Open Handicap, in a Class 6 Plate.
“The idea was to get his confidence back in easier company. But if the rain continues he won’t start,” Heathcote said.
Fellow trainer Tony Gollan will test promising sprinter Kraftwerk for a winter carnival campaign against Jopa.
“He has won his past two starts in restricted company in smart time. It is obviously a step up but it isn’t the strongest open with a couple of horses on their way to middle distance racing,” Gollan said.
“If he measures up in this we might look at the Toowoomba Weetwood Handicap for him next month and then maybe some of the lower level sprint races during the winter.”