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Hopfgarten to trial for winter comeback

Multiple stakes winner Hopfgarten’s winter carnival program will be decided after he runs in a barrier trial at Deagon.

He will be one of several carnival aspirants going around in a set of 14 trials on Tuesday.

Hopfgarten has been one of the best performed horses in Queensland in recent years winning 11 races, including five in stakes class, and being placed a further nine times for $677,330 prize money.

The gelding, who like his illustrious retired stablemate Buffering is by Mossman, hasn’t raced since finishing eighth in the Magic Millions Cup on January 14.

He raced in Brisbane in the summer after an unlucky Melbourne spring campaign during which he ran well in Group One races.

The problem facing trainer Robert Heathcote as he prepares to map out Hopfgarten’s winter is that he has to carry big weights in Listed and Group Three races.

Hopfgarten won the Listed Ascot Handicap and Listed Wayne Wilson Stakes last winter and was kept away from the Group One races.

He has raced only once in in a winter Group One race finishing fifth in the 2015 Doomben Cup.

Heathcote will have to decide whether to run him in the lesser stakes races with get plenty of weight or perhaps in the Group One Stradbroke where he would get in with a light impost.

“I just want to see which way to go after he trials at Deagon on Tuesday,” Heathcote said.

“He seems to have come along OK since a break but we will know more after Tuesday.

The Heathcote-trained Pinch River will miss the winter carnival after pulling up sore from his second last in the Weetwood Handicap at Toowoomba.

“He has had a lot of feet problems which have hindered his career. I have a big opinion of him but every time I get him right something goes wrong,” Heathcote said.

“He will need a spell and the winter carnival looks to be out.”

The Deagon trials will feature several top winter hopes including Miss Cover Girl, Ours To Keep and Madotti.

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