Aristocratico on trial for trip north
Gary Portelli will use Saturday’s Randwick meeting as a test to see whether Aristocratico is worthy of a trip for one of Queensland’s premier provincial Cups.
The five-year-old’s owners are keen to look at a race like the Listed Ipswich Cup (2150m) on June 19 but Portelli said there would be no point heading north if Aristocratico can’t win the Chatteress Handicap (2000m) at Randwick.
Aristocratico “improved out of sight” with three straight wins last preparation ranging from 1800m to 2000m before failing to finish in the Listed Canberra Cup (2000m) in November when he was injured in the race.
The gelding is yet to post a victory in three runs this campaign but gave an indication he was getting back to his best with a last-start second to Martin Place at Randwick on May 15.
“He’s been working his way to a win,” Portelli said.
“He was pocketed at a vital stage last start but he likes the wet, likes 2000 metres and he’s at his peak for this race.
“The owners are hoping that if he wins he might go up to Ipswich for the Cup, but this is a good guide because if he can’t win then there’s no point in going there.”
The Warwick Farm trainer, who will fly to England next Thursday to link up with Group One winner Gold Trail ahead of the King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot on June 15, has four other runners at Randwick including Sacred Orders who’ll resume in the Randwick’s 150th Anniversary Handicap (1100m).
Sacred Orders is a noted mudlark – all five of his career wins have come on either heavy or slow ground – but Portelli said he was throwing him in at the deep end against the likes of Pinwheel, Centennial Park and Hay List first-up.
“He races well fresh but he races better as he gets through his campaign,” Portelli said.
“On a wet track it might help him but he’s a little underdone and this race might be a bit much for him even though he’s come back pretty well.”
Victorian-based rider Dean Yendall has been booked to ride both Aristocratico and Sacred Orders, as well as Sheeznodoubt who is one of two Portelli runners in the Sydney Children’s Hospital Gold Week Gift (1400m).
“I was thinking outside the square a bit with a lot of the riders in Brisbane,” Portelli said.
“He (Yendall) is an aggressive rider and I think he suits my horses.”
Sheeznodoubt finished third to Oopsy Doopsy over the same distance last Saturday and Portelli, who also has Mabkhara in the race, believes the filly is better suited dropping back to her own age after taking on fillies and mares at Rosehill.
By Matthew Toogood