A standout performer over a light 2014 racing campaign so-far, trainer Natalie McCall has revealed she may enter talented runner River Lad in the Group 1 Railway Stakes (1600m) at Ascot on November 22nd if successful in his major spring target; the Group 1 Emirates Stakes (1600m) on November 8th.
Securing a commendable total of 13 wins and 11 minor places from 37 competitive starts so far, River Lad has not been seen at the races since mustering an impressive turn of foot to break through for a maiden victory at the highest level of Australian racing in the Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) on June 7th.
Pleased with the way the Top Echelon gelding has returned to work, McCall told the Courier Mail River Lad will be based at Flemington throughout his 2014 Spring Racing Carnival, and will be kept to a light workload in the lead-up to the Emirates Stakes.
“I am certainly not going to say he is going to go down to Melbourne and clean up all the races and be an absolute superstar, but I am sure he will measure up in whatever he runs,” McCall said.
“He is going to be stabled at Flemington and that will be great because there are pools there which he likes. He has pretty average feet and once he is up and racing I have always tried to keep him off his feet.”
Finishing worse than second just once in five starts this year, River Lad charged home to win the SITA Australia Handicap (1200m) first-up on January 18th before finishing a credible second to Appearance in the Group 2 Expressway Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on February 8th.
Returning from the paddock for the 2014 Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival, the gelding out of Ikeymo beat just a single runner home in the Group 2 Victory Stakes (1200m) on April 26th, but responded in the best way possible in claiming back-to-back victories in the Group 3 BRC Sprint (1350m) and Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap.
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