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Portelli finds positives as Fireburn chases Golden double

Luck is going to play a big part in whether last season’s champion two-year-old Fireburn can overcome a horror draw in Saturday’s Group 1 $1m Chandon Golden Rose (1400m).

That's out of trainer Gary Portelli's control but a cracking first-up run and rain around are two things that tell him the Golden Slipper winner can beat the odds as she did at Rosehill Gardens back in March.

While all eyes were on impressive winner In Secret in the Group 2 Run To The Rose (1200m) two weeks ago, Fireburn clocked the race's fastest splits from the 600m-200m in a 33.66 final 3 f (Punter's Intelligence) and that told Portelli the filly is on target.

"I'm happy for them not to talk about her, they didn't talk about her before the Slipper,'' Portelli said.

"I thought her run was great, she ran the second fastest last 3 f and was probably entitled to but she couldn't do any more than what she did.

"She was in a position where she couldn't get into the race and the horses in front of her weren't exactly getting her into the race."

The run was not the one talked about post-race as she lost early Golden Rose favouritism.

With the forecast as it is Fireburn has been a firmer into $9 with TAB on Thursday, and on the back of her heavy track autumn heroics her closing fifth placing first-up has earned more respect.

Portelli said he couldn't have asked for a better first-up run under the circumstances and it will be a much fitter Fireburn that presents on Saturday for what could be her spring grand final.

"You just knew going into that first corner she was in a no win situation,'' he said.

"There wasn't a real lot of pressure up front and it was impossible to make up any significant ground but I like the way she applied herself.

"The winner was very good but she was second-up and a fit horse. We were first-up from a good spell and she is peaking for this."

If Fireburn happens to become the first Golden Slipper winner since Forensics (who won the Rose in the EI impacted season in 2008) she'll also be the first horse eligible for the 'Golden Slam' which is a $5 million bonus should she return next year and win the Golden Eagle.

Stablemate Sejardan can also claim 'forgotten horse' status in the Rose, while he finished seventh in the Run To The Rose two weeks ago his sectionals suggested the run was solid.

He posted a 33.76 last 3 f, third fastest, and while Portelli would prefer him on top of the ground he has the draw to give the race a shake and for that reason the trainer warns he shouldn't be underestimated.

"I don't know which way to particularly now Sejardan has drawn a good gate but he's not as good in the wet as what she is and she's drawn the car park,'' he said.

"I'm going there hoping for the best.

"It could be a similar case to the Golden Slipper – if she's in trouble getting a bad run from a bad gate and he's getting every chance or if he's getting held up she's got the finish down the outside.

"We have two good chances in the race and both horses can win the race if things go to plan."

Portelli said if Sejardan breaks from the gates as well as he did first-up he'll be asking Jason Collett to take advantage.

"He jumped so well last week, and when he jumped so well he had to spend time going back,'' he said.

"I think we overdid the easing after he jumped that well because we had this mindset of going back. I reckon we could have been a bit more patient and we could have been outside the winner.

"He got a bit tired the last 0, he was a bit heavier than usual and has stripped a lot fitter for that."


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