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Hopfgarten beats the ballot blues

A high attrition rate means Brisbane star Hopfgarten has made the field for the Group One Kingsford Smith Stakes after fears he might miss out.

Queensland has at best six horses capable of running in open company Group One races but this winter has exposed problems with the ballot system for local weight-for-age races.

The system was introduced two years ago and is now based on prize money earned in the past two years.

Hopfgarten has won two stakes races and about $240,000 in the past two years but was number 43 on the ballot order of entry because horses that race in the southern states can earn higher prize money than their Queensland counterparts.

Hopfgarten, who has won five stakes races and $722,000 in prize money, made the field after a high attrition rate from the nominations left only 14 runners in the Cup.

Trainer Robert Heathcote said he had always been confident Hopfgarten would get a run which was why he scratched the gelding from last week’s BRC Sprint.

“It was a bit of shock to hear he was 43rd in the ballot. But he is in the field now and he will race well Saturday,” Heathcote said.

“Black Heart Bart is the horse to beat but at least we know Hopfgarten handles Eagle Farm.”

It was the second week in a row RQ officials had avoided embarrassment as top Queensland middle distance galloper Rudy was the last to make the field for the Doomben Cup.

Rudy went on to run third in the Cup behind Sense Of Occasion and Star Exhibit.

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