Gary Portelli is doing some tough talking ahead of the Oakleigh Plate 2015 on Saturday week as he prepares to give his untapped galloper I’m All The Talk a tough first-up test in the Caulfield feature.
Talking on Sky Sports Radio on Thursday morning, the Warwick Farm-based Portelli confirmed plans to kick off I’m All The Talk’s Melbourne Autumn Racing Carnival campaign in the $400,000 Group 1 Oakleigh Plate (1100m) on Blue Diamond Stakes Day, February 28.
He admits it is an ambitious target for the four-year-old entire, the son of Stratum having won back-to-back trials at his home track over 800m by five lengths each.
“He’s come back and he looks absolutely enormous,” Portelli said.
“He’ll take on the big guns because he’s at that level now.
“It’s very ambitious taking on the Oakleigh Plate first-up but he’s had plenty of work.”
In those two big trials the horse has been absolutely flying showing electric speed to open up big gaps and continuing to run on, encouraging work leading into the Oakleigh Plate.
“He’s flying,” Portelli said.
“He runs time without even trying. He’s a superfast horse.”
His last official start under race conditions was a disappointing ninth when beaten four lengths by the winner Bel Sprinter in the Group 2 Caulfield Sprint (1100m).
Portelli however knows the horse is back to his best having sensed something was definitely off during his last campaign.
“I knew something wasn’t well with him,” he said.
“He’s back now and he’s an absolutely magnificent horse.
“He will have improved from last preparation. He’s improved heaps since then.
“This prep we’ve got him right.”
He’s back to Group 1 company for the first time since April of 2013 when he finished 10th to Overreach in the Golden Slipper two years ago, but Portelli is confident he’s going well enough for the challenge.
Adding to his confidence is the fact I’m All The Talk will get into the race on the minimum weight, Winona Costin on standby for the ride.
Hugh Bowman had the ride on the up-and-comer for his latest piece of work however, a smart 600m gallop on Wednesday done in easy time.
“It was an easy gallop over 600 metres,” Portelli said.
“They clocked him doing 32.66 seconds and it looked like he was going pretty easy.
“I just wanted to make him finish it off going into a strong headwind.”
It should be a star studded edition of the Oakleigh Plate too with other notable hopes tracking towards Saturday week’s classic including straight track specialist Vain Queen who bypassed this Saturday’ Group 1 Black Caviar Lightning Stakes (1000m), I’m All The Talk’s last start conqueror from October Bel Sprinter and last year’s Blue Diamond Stakes winner Earthquake.
All going well after the Oakleigh Plate Portelli has I’m All The Talk nominated for the $1 million Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at Flemington on March 14.
The horse pays a juicy $51 in the futures Newmarket Handicap odds at Ladbrokes.com.au, the markets led by Hawkes Racing’s smart four-year-old Chautauqua ($3.20) who resumed with a Group 2 Rubiton Stkaes (1100m) win at Caulfield last Saturday.
There is also a chance I’m All The Talk will head to Sydney for The Championships, a run in the $2 million Group 1 TJ Smith Stakes (1200m) on April 4 being considered. )
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