Riva De Lago will have his first race start since joining the Robert Heathcote stable at Doomben on Saturday after he was included in the 2014 George Moore Stakes field that was released this morning.
Riva De Lago made his racing debut in 2010 under the care of Con Karakatsanis and he joined the Chris Waller stable after he finished sixth behind stablemate Howmuchdoyouloveme in the Listed Ramornie Handicap (1200m) at Grafton in July of 2012.
The Encosta De Lago gelding made his debut for the Waller stable in December of 2012 and he stamped himself as a genuine contender at Group level with a string of second place finishes in the Group 3 Liverpool City Cup (1300m), Group 2 Ajax Stakes (1500m) and Listed Luskin Star Stakes (1300m) during the 2013 Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival.
Riva De Lago scored the biggest win of his racing career to date when he recorded an impressive victory in the Group 2 Theo Marks Stakes (1400m) at Rosehill Gardens in September of last year, but he was been unable to record a race win since and he was sold and transferred to the Heathcote stable after he failed to fire in three race starts during the 2014 Sydney Spring Racing Carnival.
Heathcote said that he has been happy with Riva De Lago since he joined his stable and he is confident that the seven-year-old will perform well in the George Moore Stakes even if the wet weather that is expected to hit Brisbane this weekend eventuates.
“Riva handles it ok (wet tracks) and it will be his first run for me, but I have been very happy with him since he joined us,” Heathcote told Racing Ahead.
While Riva De Lago is optimistic about the chances of Riva De Lago handling a wet track in the George Moore Stakes, he is less positive about veteran gelding Excellantes.
Excellantes returned to racing with a slightly disappointing eighth place finish in the Listed Keith Noud Handicap (1200m) at Doomben on November 22 and the Falvelon gelding has recorded just one race win in his five race starts on rain affected surfaces.
“It is going to be up in the air a little bit,” Heathcote said.
“Excellantes doesn’t go a yard on anything worse than a soft five and fingers crossed the weather holds out.”
Riva De Lago and Excellantes will face stiff competition in the George Moore Stakes after the likes of Adebisi, Rocky King, Cape Kidnappers, Big Money and Into The Red were included in the field for the Group 3 event.