Natalie McCall-trained River Lad returned to winning form with a brave front-running victory in the 2014 BRC Sprint at Doomben this afternoon and will make his debut at Group 1 level in the 2014 Stradbroke Handicap at Eagle Farm on June 7.
Jockey Tim Bell took River Lad to the front of the BRC Sprint field in the early stages of the race and, along with Benny Button’s, kicked well clear of the rest of the field coming around the final turn.
Benny Button’s looked as though he had his nose in front at the 150 metre mark, but River Lad was too strong in the final stages of the race and pushed clear to score his second win at Group level after winning the 2012 edition of the W.J. Healy Stakes (1200m).
Bell had a frustrating day before his victory on River Lad, finishing in the placings with Pickabee in the Juanmo Stakes and Tinto in The Roses, and was clearly thrilled to finish his day with a feature race victory.
“I’ve been around the money all day and I was ecstatic with all the runs of my horses, but it is good to finally get one,” Bell said.
“This is my first season as a senior rider and things are actually looking quiet big and bold and I am thankful for the majority of these Brisbane trainers that I generally ride for to stick loyal to me.
“It is a great credit to them and I am just happy to get the done properly.”
Bell was reuniting with River Lad for the first time since 2012, after winning the W.J. Healy Stakes on the gelding, and was quick to pay credit to trainer Natalie McCall and the toughness that the six-year-old showed in the final stages of the race.
“I had a little bit of success on this horse in his earlier days and there team worked very hard there on the Sunshine Coast,” Bell said.
“They don’t have the biggest amount of numbers, but she is a trainer that is really on her way through her grades.
“I didn’t actually want to lead, but you have to keep the horse in a happy medium and he did a little bit of work to cross them.
“Once he got there, he settled very nicely and he has fought off Benny’s Buttons very nicely today.”
McCall was thrilled with the performance of River Lad and confirmed that the son of Top Echelon will have his next race start in the Stradbroke Handicap.
You can find the best odds for River Lad or any other runner in the 2014 Stradbroke Handicap field at Ladbrokes.com.au thanks to their 2014 Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival special.
2014 BRC Sprint Results
|1||2||RIVER LAD||Natalie Mccall||Timothy Bell||–||10||57.5kg||$9.50|
|2||3||BENNY’S BUTTONS||Kelso Wood||James McDonald||0.2L||12||55.5kg||$5.50|
|3||5||FIRE UP FIFI||Robert Heathcote||Luke Nolen||3.2L||2||55kg||$9.50|
|4||4||DANCES ON STARS (NZ)||Gerald Ryan||Michael Cahill||3.4L||8||55.5kg||$7|
|5||7||STEEL ZIP||Pat Duff||Brad Stewart||4.2L||9||54kg||$21|
|6||12||TYPHOON RED||Kevin Kemp||Nozi Tomizawa||4.4L||3||54kg||$21|
|7||9||STARTSMEUP||Bruce W Hill||Jim Byrne||5.7L||7||54kg||$15|
|8||14||THAT’S THE ONE||Barry Baldwin||Ms Tegan Harrison (a)||5.9L||11||54kg||$41|
|9||16||FERMENT||John P Thompson||Ryan Wiggins||6.4L||1||54kg||$101|
|10||6||FILLYDELPHIA||Robert Heathcote||Glen Colless||6.6L||6||54.5kg||$12|
|11||11||LUCKY HUSSLER||Kent Fleming||Jason Taylor||6.8L||4||54kg||$4.80F|
|12||10||TRANSPORTER||John P Thompson||Jim Cassidy||7L||5||54kg||$31|
|13||1||SOLZHENITSYN (NZ)||Robert Heathcote||Nash Rawiller||12.5L||13||61kg||$9|