Multiple stakes winner Hopfgarten has earned his top weight in the Recognition Stakes but trainer Robert Heathcote says he will have to reproduce one of his best recent runs to be competitive.
Hopfgarten will be having his first start back in Queensland since a Melbourne spring campaign when he runs in Saturday’s 1400m-Listed race at Eagle Farm.
At his last start Hopfgarten finished a handy sixth behind Le Romain in the Group One Cantala Stakes but it was the gelding’s effort earlier in the spring that really impressed Heathcote.
“Hopfgarten ran fourth in a Listed race at Flemington when he had 60 kilos. It was a terrific run and he will have to reproduce that to be competitive on Saturday,” Heathcote said.
“He has 60kg again and there are some very good horses in the Recognition Stakes. I have given up whingeing about handicappers – you can’t beat them.
“But Hopfgarten really needs to be at his best to beat these horses at the weights. For all that he has pleased me since coming back from Melbourne.”
Heathcote will saddle up four runners in the race with Lordag, Bewhatyouwannabe, and Volkhere joining Hopfgarten.
“Lordag was a very good seventh in the open handicap at the Sunshine Coast last week. He virtually went the entire straight being held up,” Heathcote said.
“He is a horse going places and you just have to get him to the outside so he can use his big finish.”
Heathcote said Behwhatyouwannabe was honest but would be improved by his run on Saturday.
“He is another victim of the rating system as he went up 13 points for winning a Listed race and has struggled a bit since,” Heathcote said.
He said Volkhere was getting fitter for longer races over the summer.
Meanwhile, Brisbane owner Bill Andrews will hope his big week in feature races continues with Feltre in the Recognition Stakes.
Andrews also part owns Scales of Justice who won the Group One Railway Stakes in Perth last week.
“Scales of Justice is a very nice horse who is being set for next week’s Group One Kingston Town Stakes,” he said.
The Brian Smith trained Feltre, who won a Listed race in the winter, is having his first start since July.