By Glenn Davis
The Weetwood Handicap has not been a happy hunting ground for topweights but trainer Rob Heathcote is hopeful Hopfgarten can be an exception.
Hopfgarten will carry 59kgs in the 1200-metre Listed sprint but no horse in the modern era has won with more weight since Seawinne lumped 60kgs in 1995 and Kidman’s Cove who carried 59.5kgs in 1997.
The only other winner to carry a similar weight since the race turned metric in 1973 was Tiny’s Finito who was successful with 59kgs in 1991.
Heathcote has declared Hopfgarten a certain starter despite the seven-year-old drawing a horror gate 15.
He also will saddle up Lordag who is resuming after finishing fifth to Capetown Hussey at Doomben in October last year.
“Hopfgarten will definitely run but it’s going to be very tough from his barrier on that track,” Heathcote said.
Hopfgarten has not started since finishing third in the Listed Bernborough Handicap at Doomben on December 30.
“He’s got a very good fresh record and is a good weight carrier which is the main reason why he’ll run,” Heathcote said.
“He’s been carrying these sorts of weights most of his career and has been racing at this sort of level all his life.
“He’s a quality Stakes performer and has earned the right to be topweight.”
Heathcote has never won the Weetwood Handicap despite several attempts and is not overly confident his luck will change.
“It’s a tough race and Ben Currie has five runners so his horses are the ones to beat,” he said.
“It’s an open race but Hopfgarten is going well.
“This is the starting point to the winter for him as he’s getting ready for some of the second-tier Group 3 races up to 1600 metres like the Lord Mayor’s Cup.”
In latest UBET markets, Hopfgarten is a $10 chance behind Toowoomba flyer Mr Marbellouz at $3.30.
Trainer Kevin Kemp is still sweating on a start for Mr Marbellouz who is second emergency with barrier one.
Mr Marbellouz, who will start in the Class 6 Plate if he fails to gain a Weetwood start, is chasing his fifth straight win but is yet to start in open company.
Racing Queensland webnews April 6