Veteran gelding Jopa is poised to steal a small piece of the limelight from his star stablemate Buffering.
Before six-time Group One winner Buffering runs in Dubai early on Sunday morning (AEDT), trainer Robert Heathcote will be watching from the UAE as Jopa contests the Makers Mark Open (1350m) at Doomben.
Jopa and Buffering are both eight-year-olds and while no one would compare their ability, Heathcote believes they have a couple of valuable assets in common.
“Buffering and Jopa are like that movie character Benjamin Button who gets younger rather than older,” Heathcote said.”
“Jopa tries hard and is so consistent. He has won on firm to heavy tracks and he races well at Doomben. You know what you will get from him which is 100 per cent.”
Originally trained by Jan Pritchard, Jopa won three races before coming to Heathcote who has prepared him for another eight victories.
“If he can win on Saturday he will be only a few dollars short of $500,000 in prize money for his career which is a great effort for a horse which has not won a stakes race,” Heathcote said.
Jopa meets a small but quality field of six runners on Saturday which includes Group Two winners Sir Moments and Jetset Lad.
It has pushed Jopa back down in the weights and with Bridget Grylls’ allowance he will carry only 55kg.
Grylls rode Jopa to his most recent win at Doomben on February 6.
Trainer Steve O’Dea has elected to go with senior jockey Paul Hammersley on Sir Moments, who will carry 61kg, but Brian Smith will use apprentice Beau Appo on 2015 Brisbane Cup winner Jetset Lad, reducing his weight to 58kg.
Jetset Lad ran last in his only trial before his comeback but Smith said he expected him to be competitive on Saturday in a small field.