Trainer Robert Heathcote hopes he has found the key to stakes winning sprinter Riva De Lago who has struggled at his recent starts.
Riva De Lago will be having his fourth start for the Brisbane trainer in the $100,000 Listed Sunshine Coast Cup (1400m) on Monday.
Now a seven-year-old, Riva De Lago was originally trained in Sydney by Con Karakatsanis and then Chris Waller who prepared him to win the 2013 Group Two Theo Marks Quality.
Transferred to Heathcote to concentrate on Queensland’s feature summer sprints, Riva De Lago has so far produced a mixed bag.
At his first start in Brisbane he was an unlucky fifth in the George Moore Stakes (1200m) but then failed to fire in the Lough Neagh Stakes and the Goldmarket Handicap.
Heathcote admits he was puzzled by Riva De Lago’s drop in form.
“He went very well fresh and then didn’t run up to that at his next two starts,” Heathcote said.
“I found he had a few niggling problems and I think I am on top of them now. He is a class galloper on his day and has handled wet tracks.”
“He is still up in the weights but this is the type of race he was brought here to contest and he is a Group Two winner.”
Heathcote also has Saluter in the race but the state of the Sunshine Coast track will determine if he starts.
Fellow trainer Kelly Schweida is also waiting for the track rating before committing to running Soros in the Cup.
“It depends on the weather and the track. I won’t be starting him on a bottomless track,” Schweida said.
The Sunshine Coast received 95mm of rain last week but is a good drying track with officials hoping it will be in the soft range by Monday.
Heavy rain in south east Queensland forced the cancellation of racing on Friday and Saturday.