Pinch River to press claims for Melbourne

If Pinch River can perform against a strong field of sprinters at Doomben on Saturday he will earn a place on trainer Robert Heathcote’s Melbourne spring carnival team.

The field for the Country Music Raceday 12th September Plate (1200m) is one Heathcote says will be a true test for Pinch River.

Among his opposition will be the well-performed Lesley’s Choice, Straight Gold and Le Val.

“I can’t remember a stronger Class Six race on paper than this one,” Heathcote said.

“There are several outstanding horses in it and luck will play a major role.

“It isn’t often a restricted race has just as much appeal as the main races.

“But I couldn’t have got a better race than this one for a guide. If Pinch River races well I will know my faith in him hasn’t been misplaced.”

Heathcote has always had a high opinion of Pinch River who won a Listed race as a two-year-old but had little luck in a restricted three-year-old season.

Pinch River had only three starts at three, during the past winter, and was hampered by wide barriers.

“I don’t think it is fanciful to say the barriers were the major reason for his defeats,” Heathcote said.

“In the end I was worried he was losing confidence from all the tough runs.”

“So I said to the owners, let’s pull up stumps, give him a break and see how we go a bit later on.”

Heathcote said Pinch River was one of several horses he was considering taking to Melbourne with stable stars Buffering and Hopfgarten.

“He will have to perform but that is what is in the back of my mind,” Heathcote said.

Buffering and Hopfgarten are expected to work together on the course proper between races on Saturday.

The winner of almost $5 million, Buffering missed the winter carnival with a leg injury.

Now fully recovered, Buffering is being aimed at a defence of the Group One Moir Stakes and Hopfgarten will head to the Group One Rupert Clarke Stakes during the Melbourne spring.

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