In the past year, Brisbane trainer Robert Heathcote has been to Melbourne, Perth, Dubai and Hong Kong but he can’t remember the last time he brought a horse to Sydney.
Buffering, the horse he took to those places was retired last month, and his trainer is getting used to life without the multiple Group One winner.
Alpen Rose will represent the stable at Rosehill on Saturday when she competes in the Club Marconi Hcp (1200m) with Tim Clark sporting the pink and black silks of Wilf Mula which were to the fore on Flying Artie in the recent Coolmore Stud Stakes at Flemington.
“I can’t remember the last horse I raced in Sydney,” Heathcote said.
“It’s been a while. It might even have been Buffering when he won the Roman Consul Stakes and that was six years ago.
“Alpen Rose is in good form and one of the reasons she is coming to Sydney is because there is rain predicted.
“If that happens then her chances are enhanced. It’s also great for Wilf to have his colours on show in his home town.”
Alpen Rose is the TAB’s $26 outsider of the field with Daysee Doom the $2.80 favourite.
Rain is expected overnight and early on Saturday morning with Alpen Rose’s record on heavy tracks three wins from three attempts.
She comes into the race off a third place to I Am Invincible who has won her past four starts in a row.
Heathcote might be a more frequent visitor to Sydney with Hopfgarten to be aimed at the Group Two Villiers Stakes in December.
“He came back to the stable today after a few days off after the Cantala Stakes and I’m hoping to get him to the Villiers,” Heathcote said.
“There’s a bonus for any horse which can win the Villiers and the Bernborough Stakes up here so that’s attractive.”
Hopfgarten finished sixth in the Group One Cantala (1600m) at Flemington two weeks ago, less than three lengths from the winner Le Romain.
And while he admits he misses having Buffering around the stable, it won’t be long until he is back to be prepared for a guest appearance in Queensland after spending a few weeks at Living Legends in Melbourne.
“They’ve named a race after him at the Gold Coast on the 31st of December so he’ll be back for that,” Heathcote said.
“But there are some lovely pictures out there that people can see of him and The Cleaner at Living Legends.
“It’s great to see these horses enjoyng themselves.”