A change in race programming will see Adelaide galloper River’s Lane have his first start in Melbourne for more than five years at Flemington.
Trainer Ryan Balfour originally picked out the Rain Lover Plate, which was to be run over 1800m at Morphettville on Saturday, for River’s Lane more than six weeks ago.
Those plans were changed when track renovations forced the meeting to be transferred to the inner Morphettville circuit with the race distance increased to 1950m.
With the trip beyond River’s Lane pet distance and Morphettville Parks not his best track, Balfour decided to search for an alternative and found the Patrobas Handicap (1720m) at Flemington.
It will be the gelding’s first trip to Melbourne since finishing seventh in the AAMI Vase at Moonee Valley in October 2009.
“All of his 11 wins have been on the outer Morphettville track,” Balfour said.
“He’s not won anywhere else but he’s hardly raced anywhere else all the same.
“He hasn’t won on the Parks track but he’s run some seconds, but it’s just not for him.
“The big track at Flemington will suit and 1600 to 1800 metres is his perfect distance.”
River’s Lane was last successful taking out the Listed CS Hayes Cup (1600m) last March and Balfour is adamant his form is better than it reads.
He said to forget his last start when he gave away too much start with his best effort on the Parks track coming three starts back when he hit the line strongly, giving the winner 6kg, in course record time.
Balfour knows it’s never easy to head across the border but believes River’s Lane deserves the chance.
The gelding travelled to the stables of Mark Lewis at Ballarat on Thursday rather than spend another three to four hours on the float to Balfour’s brother Todd’s stables at Cranbourne.
“He’s been on the water walker today,” Balfour said.
“He travelled over well and is nice and fresh and I’m sure he’ll acquit himself well.”