A lucrative restricted race at the Gold Coast Racecourse in early January is on the agenda for the Gary Portelli-trained Golden Rose placegetter Sebring Sun who heads towards the Magic Millions 3YO Guineas 2016.
The Sebring colt enjoyed stellar form over the winter and into the early spring including his third behind Exosphere in the Group 1 Golden Rose (1400m) at Rosehill Gardens on September 12.
A winner of two of his nine starts to date, things went amiss for Sebring Sun last time out on October 31 at Flemington in his Melbourne debut during the Cup Carnival.
The up-and-comer lined-up in the Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m), a distance he won the Listed Rosebud over in Sydney in early August, but he could only manage to run nearly 13 lengths away 10th behind the Chris Waller-trained winner Japonisme.
The Warwick Farm-based Portelli believes the Flemington straight was partly to blame for the failed effort, but that the horse was also needing the break he received immediately after the loss.
“While the track didn’t play into his favour, he didn’t fire anyway,” Portelli told Racing Ahead on RSN this week.
“We put him out for a break straight away.”
Despite things not going to plan in Melbourne, Portelli said the original plan to head to Queensland on January 9 for the Gold Coast Magic Millions Race Day was still very much in motion.
“The plan was hopefully he’d run well there, and then freshen up and go to the Magic Millions – there’s a three-year-old race there over 1400m worth $1.2 million to the winner,” he said.
“We couldn’t leave that on the table, we’re going to aim at that. He’ll have one run before the Magic Millions.
“Hopefully last preparation hasn’t taken any out of him – he certainly doesn’t look like he’s come back dour, he’s quite well.
“It’s a fantastic race to aim at, the prizemoney – you just can’t turn your back on it.”
The Gold Coast race Portelli speaks of is the $2 million Magic Millions 3YO Guineas (1400m), acceptances for which close on January 4.
Portelli is also looking forward to the new season return of his Group 1 winner Rebel Dane who was last seen running third to Chautauqua in the Group 1 Manikato Stakes (1200m) under the lights at Moonee Valley on October 23.
Boasting an excellent first-up record (7-4-1-1), the California Dane six-year-old will have his first ever full Melbourne Autumn Racing Carnival campaign in 2016.
His trainer named three likely targets with runs in the $220,000 Group 2 Australia Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley in January before two 1400m Caulfield Group 1s in the CF Orr Stakes and Futurity Stakes the following month.
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