Rivellino in good shape ahead of Good Friday

March 14th, 2016 Other

Karl Burke is hoping Rivellino can make it third time lucky in the £150,000 Unibet All-Weather Sprint Championships Stakes at Lingfield Park on All-Weather Championships Finals Day, Good Friday, March 25.

The six-year-old, owned by Melba Bryce, came home seventh in the six-furlong contest 12 months ago and was a close third behind Alben Star in 2014, both from wide draws.

Rivellino booked his place for this year’s race with a neck victory in the Listed Unibet Cleves Stakes, a Fast-Track Qualifier, over the course and distance at Lingfield Park on February 6.

He was last seen out when finishing sixth in the valuable Katara Sprint Cup at Doha, Qatar, on February 27.

Burke, who is based in North Yorkshire, said: “Rivellino is on target for the Good Friday.

“He came back from Qatar really well. We were very happy with him over there, the ground was just very quick but he took all the travelling well.

“If he turns up at Lingfield in the same shape as when he won the Listed race and gets a good draw, I think he would have as good a chance as anything.

“There is nothing there I would be frightened of on his day. The last two Good Fridays he has bad draws and certainly last year he could not get competitive.”

Burke is also eyeing the £150,000 32Red All-Weather Marathon Championships Stakes over two miles for the versatile Pearl Castle. The six-year-old was runner-up in a valuable handicap hurdle at Musselburgh on January 1 and has since run well in pair of Fast-Track Qualifiers, finishing fifth to Anglophile at Lingfield Park on January 23 and third to Notarised at Chelmsford City on March 3.

Burke said: “I am hoping Pearl Castle will get into the 32Red Marathon, but I would say it is touch and go at this stage.

“He has been very consistent during the winter on the All-Weather and over hurdles. We stepped him up to two miles on his last couple of runs and he gets the trip well.

“If he gets in, he will run a good race but I’m not sure he is good enough to win.”