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Veteran Jopa after first stakes win

After nearly seven years and 77 starts, veteran Jopa returns to where it all began in his search for a first stakes win.

Provided weather predictions are correct, the nine-year-old gelding will back up from last week in Saturday’s Listed Goldmarket Stakes (1200m) at the Gold Coast.

The Goldmarket, the oldest feature race at the Gold Coast, has been run at several distances and times of the year but this season has been switched to March and 1200m.

Jopa has shown in his three runs back from a spell that he has lost none of his zest for racing.

He has recorded a third and two fourths in open handicaps at Doomben and had no luck in any of them.

Trainer Robert Heathcote marvels at the toughness of Jopa who was fourth to Siegfried at Doomben last Saturday.

“He should have won. He got pushed off the track and had to travel deep the whole way but he just kept coming at the finish,” Heathcote said.

“Provided there is any rain about he will back up on Saturday. He has a very good record on heavy tracks and handles soft as well.”

Heathcote said while Jopa’s best form was at Doomben he also handled the Gold Coast.

“He has won three times at the Gold Coast but he doesn’t get down there much these days,” Heathcote said.

Jopa won his debut at the Gold Coast in a two-year-old handicap over 900 metres on June 12, 2010 when trained by Jan Pritchard.

“The fact he is still racing well nearly seven years later is a testament to him,” Heathcote said.

“When he came to us four seasons back he was considered just a short-course horse but as he has got older he has stepped up in distances.”

Jopa has won 13 races and $527,000 prize money but has been unplaced in all five of his races in stakes class.

“He obviously isn’t getting any younger but he deserves a black-type win,” Heathcote said.

“With a light weight (54.5kg) and a wet track on Saturday he might just get it this Saturday.”

Bridget Grylls, who has won three races on Jopa, will again be aboard.

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