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Portelli, O'Hara open season with a bang

Trainer Gary Portelli and jockey Kathy O'Hara have continued their successful combination to win the opening race of the new racing term at Randwick.

Not Feint Hearted has snuck under the guard of punters but not trainer Gary Portelli, who was thrilled to kick off the new racing season with a Randwick win.

Not Feint Hearted was having his first run in over six weeks when unplaced at his most recent start and was sent out an $8.50 chance on Saturday.

But with improved fitness, he made a one-act affair of the Industry Celebration Race Day Handicap (1300m), trouncing nearest rival Badoosh ($5.50) by 5-1/2 lengths with Girls Are Ready ($17) another three-quarters of a lengths away.

"I'm the leading trainer in Sydney for the new (racing) year," Portelli said.

"That was brilliant to watch. He's been racing in pretty strong company, I was actually surprised at the price.

"We were pretty keen on his chances today."

Portelli and O'Hara have been a lethal combination during the Sydney winter capturing a pair of Saturday victories in town with Spaceboy, while four of the jockey's past five wins have been for the stable.

Not Feint Hearted chalked up his second victory in 10 starts and Portelli said there were signs a winning performance was looming.

His only reservation was the heavy conditions.

"Tuesday morning he burnt turf so it was just a matter of whether he handled the track or not, but that he did," Portelli said.

Syncline started favourite but struggled in the ground to finish a distant sixth.


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