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A pair of promising gallopers will be the building blocks for the future for trainer Con Karakatsanis following the loss of two stable stars.

The recent sale of dual Group One winner Black Piranha and transfer of multiple stakeswinner News Alert to another stable shattered the young horseman.

“It’s been a big kick in the guts to lose, one, my best miler and two, my best sprinter,” Karakatsanis said.

“I sat down and thought long and hard about it and I figured I could either hang my head and feel sorry for myself or I could concentrate on getting some of the younger horses up and firing.”

Karakatsanis did just that and in Howmuchdoyouloveme and Riva De Lago, he looks to have unearthed a couple of smart ones.

The duo will race at Rosehill on Saturday when three-year-old Howmuchdoyouloveme tackles the Bradford Solar Hcp (1200m).

An eye-catcher at the barrier trials, Howmuchdoyouloveme lived up to the wraps with an impressive debut win in midweek company earlier this month.

“He’s a lovely horse. He’s 17 hands but he’s a friendly giant and he’s shown the world of ability,” Karakatsanis said.

“He still has a lot of maturing and a lot of growing up to do.”

Howmuchdoyouloveme tackles a handy field which includes the stakes-placed Cindarockinrella and Startreusse who was 1-1/2 lengths fourth to Foxwedge in the Group Two Roman Consul Stakes.

“It’s not a weak race, it’s a nice 75 rating race in town on a Saturday,” Karakatsanis said.

“We’ll get a good guide on how well he’s going and if he happens to win, we’re mindful of how much he will still improve.

“He’ll have probably this and maybe one more run then we’ll give him a nice break and bring him back for the autumn and winter.”

Riva De Lago, who lines up in the final race, has also been earmarked for a winter campaign in Brisbane.

The four-year-old was hot and cold before resuming with an emphatic four-length victory at Randwick and Karakatsanis said a gelding operation was the key.

“It’s really switched him on. He looks a million dollars and there are no more excuses for him now,” Karakatsanis said.

“He’s always had a lot of ability but getting it out of him was the problem.”

Karakatsanis hopes Riva De Lago might develop into a Stradbroke Handicap horse next campaign.

He knows what it takes to win the Group One having done it twice with Black Piranha in 2009/10.

That gelding will have his first start for new trainer Anthony Freedman in the Salinger Stakes at Flemington on Saturday and Karakatsanis admits he will have mixed emotions.

“It will be very strange,” he said.

“It’s a shame I lost him. I would have loved to see him out for his career but that’s racing.”


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