An impressive last start win at Canterbury and the booking of top hoop Brenton Avdulla has trainer Gary Portelli confident in a strong The Rosebud 2015 performance at Randwick on Saturday from his progressive colt Sebring Sun.
The three-year-old son of Sebring is one of 11 current nominations for the $100,000 Listed The Rosebud (1200m) on Missile Stakes Day this weekend, the handicap clash the first official lead-up into the $1 million Group 1 Golden Rose (1400m) at Rosehill Gardens next month.
A number of the entries are already nominated for the Golden Rose on September 12 including Sebring Sun who sits 37th on the latest order of entry led by the clear favourite, Gai Waterhouse’s Golden Slipper winner Vancouver ($3.20) who tops the ballot with over $2.36 million in prize money earned to date.
Sebring Sun has amassed just $64,125 in eligible stakes since his debut with a single win from five starts.
The victory came last time out when he broke his maiden status last Wednesday at a Canterbury midweek over 1200m with Hugh Bowman guiding him to victory from barrier 13 of 13 thanks to an explosive late finish from the young galloper.
Fifth in the Group 2 Skyline Stakes (1200m) at Warwick Farm in late February last campaign, Sebring Sun has shown improvement since and on Saturday gets the chance at back-to-back wins and his maiden stakes success.
“This will probably be the weakest race he takes on from here on in, as far as black-type races go,” Portelli told AAP.
“I think he’s definitely up to this level.”
Avdulla jumps in the saddle for the first time since the horse’s debut at Randwick last October when unlucky not to kick off his career with a win, Sebring Sun crossing a neck away second to Pierrette.
Portelli is more than happy to have Avdulla aboard this weekend, Saturday’s Sydney meeting missing Bowman (holidays), Blake Shinn (England) and James McDonald (suspended).
“Hugh, Blake, Kerrin (McEvoy, joining Shinn in England for the Shergar Cup jockeys’ championship), McDonald, they’re all out,” Portelli said.
“I’ve got Brenton Avdulla so I was on the front foot pretty quick.
“He’s ridden him before too. He was on him at his first start and I’ve had a good association with Brenton.”
There were two late The Rosebud entries this season with Sydney’s five-time premiership winning trainer Chris Waller paying up for Encosta De Lago colt Vanbrugh and local horseman Kevin Moses putting his son of Zizou Zoutenant in the mix.
The sole filly nominated to take on the boys in The Rosebud meanwhile is the Waterhouse-trained Kimberley Star who, if accepted for, will shoot for her fourth win on the trot.
The flying daughter of Star Witness has won over $225,000 in prize money thanks to a trio of wins going back to the first of July including her win over 1400m at Rosehill last Saturday.
Along with her and Sebring Sun, the other headline nominee is the Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes-trained Rageese.
A $17 shot in the futures Golden Rose odds at Ladbrokes, Street Cry colt Rageese remains a maiden after three wins but does boast two Group seconds when runner-up to Tarquin in the Group 2 Pago Pago Stakes (1200m) from mid-March and his second to Pride Of Dubai in the Group 1 ATC Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m) from April.
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