Gary Portelli is hoping star sprinters Chautauqua and Terravista are vulnerable in the All Aged Stakes 2015 this Saturday after tough lead-up runs in the wet, something that can help his galloper Rebel Dane score an upset in the Randwick clash.
In a star-studded edition of the weight-for-age $400,000 Group 1 Schweppes All Aged Stakes (1400m) this Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival, the classic has drawn 18 nominations including the Team Hawkes-trained Chautauqua who won the Group 1 TJ Smith Stakes (1200m) at the track on April 6.
Also coming a top three run in the lucrative sprint is Joe Pride’s Captain Rio gelding Terravista, the Darley Classic winner third to the winner who came from the back of the pack to nab Lord Of The Sky in the final stride.
Both horses are now set to back-up in the All Aged Stakes out over 1400m and will need to be at their best to stretch out to a distance they haven’t raced over in nearly a year.
The TJ Smith Stakes has been a descent guide to the All Aged Stakes in recent years with four runners coming out of the sprint lead-up in the past 10 years, most recently Hay List (2011) who ran second in the TJ before his All Aged win as the short-priced favourite.
Two of those four horses also completed the TJ Smith Stakes – All Aged Stakes double with the Gai Waterhouse-trained duo Shamekha (2005) and Bentley Biscuit (2007).
Despite all that, the Warwick Farm-based Portelli sniffs an upset and hopes his California Dane stallion Rebel Dane can be the one to score it.
“You can only train your own and you tend to think they had hard runs on a really heavy track,” Portelli said of the All Aged favourites speaking to the Sydney Morning Herald.
“I’m hoping they fall in the trap we did. We came out of the TJ Smith [last year] on a heavy track into the All Aged Stakes and raced flat and I’m hoping that happens with these horses.
“I still believe sometimes when you’re good on a heavy track it can sometimes take that speed out of your legs next start.
Twelve months ago Rebel Dane ran second in the TJ Smith Stakes to Lankan Rupee and started the short-priced favourite in the All Aged Stakes.
He could only manage to run fifth to Japanese mare Hana’s Goal, the first horse from Japan to win in Sydney, something Portelli is out to atone for this year.
The favourites have a gun record in the All Aged Stakes with Rebel Dane one of just four in the past 10 years not to salute for the punters.
He’ll be at much longer All Aged Stakes odds at Ladbrokes.com.au for his second attempt this weekend though and comes off a different lead-up to last autumn.
He is second-up for the season again but this time his first-up run was in Melbourne’s Group 1 William Reid Stakes (1200m) when sixth to Lucky Hussler in a race that has never produced an All Aged Stakes winner.
Portelli though has his runner on the improve and said that he had come on physically since the William Reid run on March 27, with Blake Shinn to ride this weekend.
“I’m hoping our bloke, whilst he had a good gallop first-up, it wasn’t a gut buster and physically he’s come on,” he said.
“He was 100 per cent going into the [William Reid Stakes] and we are hoping the reason for his failure was he was a little bit too close in a pretty-strong run race.
“His best runs have been when he’s been ridden cold and second-up last year we rode him – not aggressively – but he was on pace in the All Aged Stakes and he didn’t come on.
“We would be hoping to ride him quite negatively early and get to the outside and see if he can really rip home.”
The 2015 All Aged Stakes final field and barrier draw is out on Wednesday so stay tuned.
In the meantime sign-up with Ladbrokes.com.au who will be offering their exclusive Best Tote or SP + 20% markets on the race this weekend!