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Portelli hoping rain tempers tough draw

Last season’s champion two-year-old, Fireburn faces a tough task from a wide gate in the Golden Rose.

Gary Portelli admits an outside barrier draw has dealt Fireburn's Golden Rose chances a crushing blow and if not for her gate, he would have been heading into the Group 1 race supremely confident. 

With the scratching of Best Of Bordeaux, who instead tackles the Heritage Stakes (1100m), the Golden Slipper heroine will jump from barrier 15 of 16 in Saturday's 7 f feature. 

Had she come up with a better alley, Portelli says, "I think she just wins". 

Now the trainer is relying on luck in the run and the vagaries of a rain-affected track if the filly is to become just the second Slipper winner since Forensics to capture the Golden Rose, and the first to do so in the spring. 

"The fantasy was she gets every chance from a good gate. Now we have to hope the rain plays a part in the draw and helps us out," Portelli said. 

"Even though I think she should be winning, she's going to need a lot more luck than what she would have if she'd drawn a good gate. 

"It's really difficult to go to the races confident you can win (from that draw)." 

Portelli began the spring with plans to give Fireburn a two-start campaign and is unlikely to deviate from that path, despite putting jockey Brenton Avdulla on standby to ride her in next week's Flight Stakes

The more probable outcome is she heads to the paddock after Saturday. 

"We have put Brenton on hold just in case, but it's not something we aimed at so it would be an afterthought," he said. 

"She is probably going to have to have a real big run on the weekend and I don't know that she could peak twice in a week." 

Stablemate Sejardan fared better at the draw with barrier eight and Portelli is looking forward to stretching him out to 7 f for the first time. 

"It has been a situation where we've been thinking he's a 1400 metre horse and he hasn't had the opportunity to race over 1400," he said. 

"He did win the Todman, he won the (Golden) Gift, he was unlucky in the (Inglis) Millennium when he got knocked down. 

"He's a good colt and he's got more prizemoney than most of the horses in the race. You'd hope if he jumps well, he'd give himself every hope." 

 

 

 


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