Courtesy of Racing and Sports – Don Mackay 08/04/15 – Last year’s Stradbroke Handicap victor River Lad is set to resume in the Victory Stakes at the Gold Coast on 25 April.

Seeking back-to-back ‘Straddy’ wins, trainer Natalie McCall says River Lad Horseform trialled last week and “went really well” — and he will jump-out next Tuesday.

“Everything has gone to plan so-far and he’s on track for the Victory Stakes,” McCall says.

“It is always a strong race, and even without Buffering, there will be plenty there to keep us honest.”

McCall doesn’t expect the rich ‘Championships’ program in Sydney to impact on the quality of the sprinters competing at the Queensland Winter Carnival.

“The sprinting pool is very deep and there is never an easy race come Carnival time.”

In 2014, McCall became the first woman to train a Stradbroke winner when River Lad won at 30-1.

McCall says her quality mare Lady Echelon Horseform came back into work this week.

Lady Echelon sustained a serious injury when she was galloped-on racing at Doomben following her return from the “Greys Race’ on Oaks Day in Melbourne.

The injury is looking good, and she’s very, very happy to be back in work, that’s for sure. She’s very keen about it all …

“We are going to take it very easy with her, and we won’t really know if she has come through it okay until we trial and put a bit more pressure on.

But all the signals suggest she is fine, and we wouldn’t have her in work if we thought otherwise.”

McCall says the ‘Gai Waterhouse’ at Ipswich at the tail of the Carnival might be on the cards for the mare, “if she comes up all right”.

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