Pinch River is rated an outsider in 2014 Magic Millions Classic betting markets, but trainer Robert Heathcote is confident that the gelding will perform better than his odds suggest in the $2 million event this weekend.
Pinch River made his racing debut with a narrow victory in the Watpac Specialty Services Handicap (1000m) at Eagle Farm on November 2 before winning the Brisclean Handicap (1000m) by a dominant six lengths at the same venue a fortnight later.
The Denman gelding failed to fire when stepped up in class to contest the Group 3 B.J. McLachlan Stakes (1200m) at Doomben on December 28, but Heathcote told Racing Ahead this morning that the two-year-old was unable to perform at his best because of a soft tissue issue.
“He is better than that and he came out of that having a massive blow,” Heathcote said.
“It wasn’t a fitness blow, it was discomfort and he was feeling a little bit of pain with his soft tissue detachment.
“We have treated that around the clock since then and he was vetted yesterday, by my vet and also the Racing Queensland vet, and he passed it with flying colours.
“All I can say is that he is better than a $60 chance.”
The Magic Millions Classic is always run at a quick tempo and Heathcote said that he will instructing jockey Ryan Wiggins to settle Pinch River towards the middle of the field from barrier 12.
The leading Brisbane trainer is hopeful that Pinch River will be able to finish the 1200 metre event with a strong finishing burst, but admits there is still a question mark over whether the juvenile will handle the pressure of a race.
“He will be ridden with cover,” Heathcote said.
“Barrier 12 is an awkward gate so the instruction to Ryan will be to be three deep, which is probably the best we can expect to be, with cover.
“Hopefully he can be travelling around 7th, 8th, 9th or 10th with cover and producing for a last finishing burst.
“At the end of the day it is not until he is under this extreme pressure of the race that I will know he has come through the minor setback that he had.
“I am happy with his work, his form is good and if we get a little bit of luck in the run I’m sure that we will be beating more home than beat us home.”
Pinch River is currently available at $81 in Magic Millions Classic betting markets; with Unencumbered ($3.70) remaining a narrow favourite from Invisible ($5.50), while Oakleigh Girl ($8.50) has been a clear market mover.