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Hopfgarten Chasing Summer Bonuses
Trainer Robert Heathcote will chase some rich summer bonuses with Hopfgarten starting in tomorrow's Gr2 Villiers Stakes (1600m) at Royal Randwick. However, Heathcote's confidence suffered an early blow when the talented 7YO drew barrier 14 for the $250,000 feature. "There's a $100,000 bonus if he wins the Villiers and Bernborough Handicap [in Queensland] and there's a $50,000 bonus if he places in the Villiers and wins the Bernborough," Heathcote told Racing Queensland. "It's disappointing...our chances have nosedived after the barrier draw. But he drew the same barrier in last year's Villiers and ran home strongly to run fifth, only two lengths away." Hopfgarten (Mossman-Black Tourmaline, by O'Reilly) has been in good form this campaign, winning over 1200m at Doomben in October and placing in the Listed Brisbane Handicap (1600m) and Listed Recognition Stakes (1350m) at his past two outings. "He's a good miler and the big Randwick track will suit him," Heathcote said. "He's definitely capable of winning the Villiers but he'll need a lot of luck and a good ride from Christian Reith."