Queensland-based stallion Top Echelon (Umatilla – Advisory, by Kingston Rule) broke through for his first Stakes success when River Lad (Top Echelon – Ikeymo, by Canny Lad) powered home to claim the Group 3 W J Healy Stakes (1200m) at Eagle Farm.
River Lad’s big finish also provided trainer Natalie McCall with a huge thrill as the win was her first Stakes success in her five-year career. McCall, the daughter of Caloundra trainer Ray McCall, said River Lad’s win at $17 shocked her.
“I was happy picking off a few races in town but to win a Group 3 race is out of this world for me,” McCall said. “I can’t get the smile off my face. A surprise win is always the greatest.
“He can be a little bit dour. He can sprint and then he just sort of whacks away, but he was super fresh today which helped.
“Because he was fresh the 1200m suited him, but he’s not really a 1200m horse.”
Top Echelon stands at Craiglea Stud in Kenilworth. The sire has produced 36 winners from 64 starters and will command a service fee of $3300 (inc. GST) in the 2012 breeding season.