Queensland gelding River Lad heads into Wednesday’s Listed $150,000 2012 Ramornie Handicap (1200m) in excellent form after winning the Group 3 WJ Healy Stakes at Eagle Farm last start.
Trained by Natalie McCall on the Sunshine Coast, the four-year-old upset the more highly-rated Excellantes and Griffon to take top honours in his first step up to Group level racing.
McCall is confident the son of Top Echelon will again head into the race in good condition after showing further progress since the Healy Stakes victory.
“We’re really happy with River Lad’s progress since he won the Healy. He’ll float down on Tuesday morning and should be at his best for the race,” McCall said.
The promising sprinter this morning drew barrier 10 for the Grafton feature and will again have boom jockey Tim Bell on board.
Bell will finish his apprenticeship this week and he believes he is on the right horse to progress to the senior ranks on a winning note.
“River Lad has come back a very good horse this campaign as his form shows and he’s the right type for a Ramornie,” Bell said.
Bell currently sits in second place on the Brisbane jockey premiership with 54 winners this season behind record-breaking rider Chris Munce (101).
Also set to line up in Wednesday’s feature sprint are Con Karakatsanis-trained pair Riva De Lago and Howmuchdoyouloveme who will come from barriers one and two respectively.
The Sydney trainer said the duo have trained well in the lead-up to the race that has been a long term target.
“The Ramornie is the race we have wanted to win for a long time,” Karakatsanis said.
‘They worked together on the course proper at Grafton on Friday morning. They have done really good and both are on target.”
Howmuchdoyouloveme is chasing a third consecutive victory but faces a step up in class in what will be his first race at Listed level.
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