Hopfgarten undoubtedly proved he is capable of mixing it with the best through his recent Winter Carnival campaign, and trainer Robert Heathcote has revealed he will set the rising five-year-old on a path through races like the 2015 Toorak Handicap (1600m) in spring.
Hopfgarten returned to racing for an impressive win over notable company in the Canadian Club Handicap (1350m) on March 28th; progressing to a close second in the Listed Tails Stakes (1630m) and third in the Toowoomba Cup (2150m) before mustering an impressive late sprint to finish a brave fifth in the Group 1 Doomben Cup (2000m) most notably.
Heathcote was understandably thrilled with Hopfgarten’s performances through the Winter Carnival, and is confident the conditions of a race like the 2015 Toorak Handicap particularly over a mile will play into his favour.
“I’m looking at bringing a horse called Hopfgarten down,” Heathcote told Racing Ahead.
“He had a bit of and up and down, mixed Winter Carnival up here.
“We were planning on taking him to the Doomben Cup and he missed a run in the Hollindale which was a crucial lead-up race.
“Pornichet was in the same boat and whilst he was super impressive I thought Hopfgarten still ran respectable races but I now believe he’s solely a miler at best.
“We’ll bring him down and target him for races like the Rupert Clarke and possible the Toorak Handicap.
“If he’s racing well and warrants a start we’ll even look at the Emirates.
“I think Hopfgarten is an improving type of horse and his brave fifth in the Doomben Cup was the race that I then decided a trip to Melbourne in spring is something to consider.”
Posting nine wins and a further six minors through only 28 career starts so far, Hopfgarten more than stamped his claims as a serous miler through a standout three-year-old campaign, highlighted by wins in each of the Group 3 Gunsynd Classic (1600m) and Group 3 Sunshine Coast Guineas (1600m).
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