River Lad Aiming for Upset in 2014 Stradbroke Handicap

May 21st, 2014

Trainer Natalie McCall is hopeful of a strong and positive showing in the featured Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) in June 7th from stable star River Lad, who has seemingly returned to racing in peak condition this season.

River Lad has been confirmed for the 2014 Stradbroke Handicap

River Lad has been confirmed for the 2014 Stradbroke Handicap. Photo: Daniel Costello

A noted performer over events in the Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival in years gone passed, River Lad has received an ideal lead-up to the season’s headline race; overcoming an unlucky finish when blocked for a run in the Group 2 Victory Stakes (1200m) first-up with an impressive turn of foot to comfortably claim the Group 3 BRC Sprint (1350m) last time out on May 17th.

While one of the older runners in line for an Eagle Farm berth in June, McCall said she believes the Top Echelon gelding still has a lot to give.

“He is six year old but I think he is still improving and like I said I think this will be his best prep,” McCall said.

“He has kept improving every time we’ve brought him in, his form says that.”

“Hopefully we get into the Stradbroke with a light weight and that’s his hope.”

“The Stradbroke will definitely be his next run.”

Claiming an impressive record of twelves victories and eleven minor places from his 36 competitive race starts to date, River Lad was a standout performer in early races in 2014; comfortably beating a talented field home in the Australia Handicap (1200m) on January 18th and finishing second behind Group 1 champion Appearance in the Group 2 Expressway Stakes (1200m) on February 8th.

Overcoming a wide and awkward draw to comfortably win last time out, McCall added she doesn’t mind if the gelding out of Ikeymo draws outside again in the Stradbroke Handicap.

“It didn’t seem to be a lot speed in it. We were drawn awkwardly but he is probably better outside the horses, as we saw at Eagle Farm he doesn’t appreciate being in amongst them,” McCall added of the BRC Sprint.

On the back of that most recent victory, River Lad is currently offered at generous odds of $31 for success in the 2014 Stradbroke Handicap.

Unlucky to finish second in the Group 1 BTC Cup (1200m) last time out, local hero Spirit Of Boom is currently sole occupant of the top line of betting for success in the Stradbroke Handicap at $6 odds, ahead of Rebel Dane ($6.50) and Buffering ($8).

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