Premiership winning trainer Robert Heathcote will stick with a claiming apprentice for Riva De Lago when he lines up in the $100,000 Local News SCTC 30th Anniversary Cup (1400m) at the Sunshine Coast on Saturday.
Bridget Grylls replaces another apprentice Luke Dittman and will use her 1.5kg to reduce Riva De Lago’s weight to 58kg, a slight reduction to the 59.5kg he was originally handicapped with.
Heathcote admits that the weights Riva De Lago has been asked to carry since he won the Listed $175,000 HMR Projects Pty Ltd Glasshouse Handicap (1300m) at the Sunshine Coast on May 16 four starts back has been partly the reason why he is struggling to find is way back into the winners stall.
“He probably isn’t up to the good Sydney and Melbourne sprinters these days. But the problem is he gets up in the weights here and it means we have to claim,” Heathcote told AAP.
“Bridget can only claim 1.5 kilograms from now but she has had a good season and has ridden her share of winners for us.”
Riva De Lago has drawn the rails which will be a big advantage in the capacity sixteen horse field and Grylls should be able to give the seven year old a soft run, better than midfield, from the inside draw.
Heathcote took over the training of Riva De Lago from Chris Waller at the end of 2014 when it was apparent the Encosta De Lago gelding had reached his limit in Sydney and he has raced consistently throughout his latest campaign.
Following his win in the Glasshouse Handicap, Riva De Lago was beaten less than two lengths when fourth to Smokin’ Joey in the Listed $175,000 City Of Ipswich Eye Liner Stakes (1350m) at Ipswich on June 13.
Then under 57.5kg he ran third to Tukiyo in a 1350m Open Handicap at Doomben on June 17 followed by a second over the same course and distance on July 11 with 56.5kg.
Group 1 performer Kingdoms is resuming from a long break and the five year old has a fifty per cent first up winning strike rate.
The Brian Smith trained gelding has some good form over a longer journey but is certain to race well fresh over the 1400m of the Anniversary Cup.
Smith took Kingdoms to Sydney during the 2014 Spring Carnival and he wasn’t disgraced when third to Opinion in the Group 1 $400,000 McGrath Estate Agents Metropolitan (2400m) at Randwick.
Brad Pengelly takes the ride on Kingdoms while Brisbane’s leading jockey Jim Byrne will be aboard the Darryl Hansen trained Le Cap.