Photo Courtesy: Steve Hart
Robert Heathcote’s underrated galloper Hopfgarten returned to his preferred track of Eagle Farm on Saturday with a blistering win in the $100,000 Listed Wayne Wilson Mile (1600m).
Hopfgarten ($9.50), ridden by Damian Browne, was sooled forward from a wide barrier and landed behind the leader Hi Son ($101) in what was a moderately run affair.
The five-year-old son of Mossman quickly took over in the straight and surged away for a 2-1/2 length win, his fifth at the track and 11th overall.
Peter and Paul Snowden’s Pajaro ($6.50) claimed second from a wall of chasers, with the Chris Waller-trained Amovatio ($9.50) a long head away in third.
"Damian (Browne) seized the initiative today and once he was cruising along outside the leader I was pretty confident,” Heathcote said.
"His run two weeks ago (Group III Lord Mayors’ Cup) was super, he never had a lot of luck being caught wide but things went to plan today for Damian Browne.
"It’s good to be back, congratulations to the club (Brisbane Racing Club), it’s been a tough couple of years for everyone concerned but we’re here today, the sun’s shining and it’s a super day’s racing.”
With career prizemoney now almost at $600,000, Hopfgarten is among the top echelon of gallopers in Heathcote’s stable and will get the chance to add another feature to his CV in the Listed Spear Chief Handicap (1500m) back at Eagle Farm in two weeks’ time. “We had no luck during the Melbourne spring but he has bounced back with a couple of Listed wins this prep”, a delighted Heathcote said.
The $5 favourite Religify was afforded every chance by Brazilian hoop Joao Moreira but could only finish sixth, just over three lengths from the winner but the reality was that Hopfgarten gave nothing else a chance.