Murwillumbah trainer Matthew Dunn is looking...
Five-year-old gelding Straturbo was nominated in both the Listed Starlight Stakes (1100m) running at Rosehill Gardens and a 1000m Handicap at Moonee Valley this Saturday.
The horse’s trainer Gary Portelli told Sky Racing on Monday afternoon he was opting for the softer race in Melbourne as Straturbo’s first start this campaign.
The gelding has not been seen since August when he finished dead last in a benchmark 80 over 1000m at Randwick. Following a barrier trial on November 13 in which he pulled his way to the front before extending his lead and kicking a couple of lengths in front for a win, Starturbo will begin his summer racing campaign on Saturday.
Portelli is adamant that running 1100 metres on his return will hinder Straturbo’s interests rather than help them, especially considering the 2014 Starlight Stakes is full of talented rivals. So he will take on the easier opposition at Moonee Valley instead.
“The Starlight Stakes is shaping up to be a pretty hot race and it might be a bit of a test for him,” the trainer said.
Straturbo is one of 20 horses nominated for the Moonee Valley Handicap, which has a field size of 15 plus four emergencies. He is set to carry the minimum weight of 54kg, six kilos less than that of top weighter Ready To Rip. Only a wider barrier draw (released late Wednesday morning) would cause the gelding to not run.
The five-year-old gelding is a five-time winner but he has yet to make the step up to black-type racing and will need to wait a little while longer after missing the 2014 Starlight Stakes.
Portelli won’t go without representation at Rosehill this weekend, Cosmic Cameo will run in the benchmark 70 over 1100m. Brisbane jockey Tim Bell has secured the ride seeing as he’s in town to ride Sir Moments in the Listed Festival Stakes (1500m).
“His manager contacted the stable looking for rides and with a lot of the other jockeys tied up to the bigger stables I thought it was good chance to put Tim on,” Portelli said.
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