Trainer Robert Heathcote was the least surprised when his veteran Hopfgarten turned back the clock to win the Listed Wayne Wilson Mile (1600m) for a second time.
Hopfgarten has moved to within $14,000 of earning $900,000 in prize money after beating Ulmann($4.6) by a short neck on Saturday, with 1-3/4 lengths to Divine Unicorn ($21) in third place.
Hopfgarten won the Wayne Wilson two years ago when it was held at Eagle Farm and had been out of the placings during his previous three starts since a spell.
However, Heathcote grew in confidence when the Doomben surface was rated as heavy.
“He isn’t the horse he once was. But a few things have gone wrong this campaign. He had a little muscle strain, which means he missed a run a fortnight ago,” Heathcote said.
“But he worked very well this week and I felt he was getting back near his best. I must say it gives me a great thrill to win the Wayne Wilson for a second time. Wayne was a great racing man.”
Winning jockey Jake Bayliss, who has been riding with great success in New Zealand, had his first Brisbane stakes win on Hopfgarten.
There was a sensation at the beginning of the race when the heavily backed A Shin Rook ($7 into $4.20) stood in the barriers and missed the start by 15 lengths.
Jockey Jim Byrne said the gelding had refused to jump and might be ready for a spell.