Running on for a credible fifth in the Group 3 George Moore Stakes (1200m) at Doomben on December 6th, trainer Robert Heathcote has revealed latest stable acquisition Riva De Lago is taking particularly well to his move north and work in the lead-up to Saturday’s Listed Lough Neagh Stakes (1350m).
Claiming seven wins and a further nine minor places over his 37 competitive appearances on course so far, Riva De Lago began his racing tenure under the care of Con Karakatsanis in 2010; transferring to the stables of leading trainer Chris Waller before arriving in Heathcote’s care ahead of the George Moore Stakes.
Winner of the 2013 edition of the Group 2 Theo Marks Stakes (1400m) most notably, Riva De Lago was unable to mind much of a consistent or competitive run of form for Waller over either of the autumn or spring racing seasons, leading to his move north of the border.
Thrilled with the work completed by the Encosta De Lago gelding in the lead-up to the Lough Neagh Stakes, Heathcote believes the seven-year-old was unlucky in the running of the George Moore Stakes and will relish the step-up to 1350m.
“Riva De Lago was one of a couple who didn’t have a lot of luck in the race,” Heathcote told AAP.
“I think he will be better suited at the 1350 metres and he gets in well at the weights.
“I have been very pleased with Riva De Lago since he came to me. It would be nice to say you had improved one on Chris but maybe it is just a change of scenery.”
Finishing seventh in the Group 3 Southern Cross Stakes (1200m) first-up on February 22nd, Riva De Lago beat a solitary runner home in the Group 3 Liverpool City Cup (1300m) on March 8th and returned to the paddock after finishing a distant last of nine runners in the Group 2 Ajax Stakes (1500m).
Beating only one runner to the post in each of the Group 3 Bill Ritchie Handicap (1400m), Myer Spring Fashion Handicap (1400m) and Filante Handicap (1500m) in his first three starts this time in, the Riva De Lago’s strong extension to the line and ability to overcome an early check in the George Moore Stakes is sure to add to his credibility in the Lough Neagh Stakes on Saturday.
Leading online bookie Ladbrokes Australia currently rank Riva De Lago as an outside $21 chance for success in the Lough Neagh Stakes.