Queensland sprinter River Lad may have drawn barrier 10 for tomorrow’s 2012 Ramornie Handicap (1200m) but that has not dampened the hopes of trainer Natalie McCall.
The four-year-old gave McCall her first black-type win as a trainer last start when taking out the Group 3 WJ Healy Stakes at Eagle Farm and McCall is remaining positive that he can again taste success this weekend.
“In the Ramornie there is usually plenty of speed on and he’s a free-rolling horse anyway,” McCall said.
“It might not be too much of a disadvantage.”
A son of Echelon, River Lad produced a performance that suprised even his trainer in the Healy Stakes, beating more fancied opponents Excellantes and Griffon.
The Sunshine Coast-based gelding has always signalled plenty of ability but McCall believes it won’t be until next year that he fully lives up to his potential.
“This year we didn’t think he was up to the real high grade of sprinter,” McCall said.
“We always planned for him to race at the back end of the winter carnival and see what we could pick off.
“What he is doing now is giving him confidence and hopefully it’s a good foundation for next year.”
An eight-time winner from 21 starts, River Lad will be ridden by boom apprentice Tim Bell who will graduate to the senior ranks this week.
The talented jockey was on board for the Healy Stakes win and rode him one other time when second to Belltone at Eagle Farm in August last year.
River Lad is currently fourth favourite to take out the feature sprint ($8.00) with Magic Cassius ($2.70), Howmuchdoyouloveme ($4.00) and Riva De Lago ($8.50) occupying the top two spots.
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