Trainer Robert Heathcote believes the best Queensland horses are being victimised by the handicapper during the Brisbane carnival.
Queensland has again had an ordinary winter carnival in terms of Group One and Two winners with the exception of Hong Kong-bound Derby winner Eagle Way.
More worrying is the fact there were no Queensland-trained horses in the Group One Doomben Cup and Doomben 10,000 and one locally trained horse in each of the BTC Cup and Stradbroke Handicap.
Heathcote was far from happy when Hopfgarten got 60.5kg in the Listed Spear Chief Stakes at Eagle Farm on Saturday.
“When the southern trainers come here the top weight they seem to get is 59kg but when it is one of ours they get 60.5 which means with a vest they are carrying 61.5kg,” Heathcote said.
“It means they get into races very well against our horses.”
Heathcote said in effect it meant the better Queensland horses were being weighted out of Brisbane racing in the winter and had to go south.
“They said to me Hopfgarten had won a stakes race at his last start, but it was worth $60,000,” Heathcote said.
“We really have to head to Sydney and Melbourne with the better horses where we get a better go at the weights, prizemoney and race schedules,” he said.
Heathcote believes Hopfgarten will be competitive on Saturday but the weight will make his task very hard.
Stablemate Saluter has recovered from a stone bruise and will run in the Group Three WJ Healy Stakes on Saturday.
“I have had one of those winters with horses getting hoof issues and stone bruises. But I am not the only one who has had similar problems,” Heathcote said.
“We almost lost my old stayer Volkhere with hoof problems. Every time one abscess would break out he would get another one. Thankfully he is finally over it and has gone to the paddock.”
Heathcote said Saluter wasn’t ready for the Eye Liner at Ipswich last Saturday but he was fit to race on Saturday.
“It isn’t the strongest Healy Stakes and I would expect him to race well fresh.”