The countdown to the Sydney Spring Racing...
Gary Portelli’s ageing sprinter-miler Testashadow had a Tuesday morning trial to help bring him on fitness wise ahead of his second-up run in the 2017 Festival Stakes at Rosehill Gardens this Saturday.
Portelli admits it is unusual to give a horse an official trial the week of a race, but that as Testashadow got on he needed more work to remain fit.
“It’s unconventional for me to give a horse a trial and a race in the same week but he was fat as a whale after his first run,” Portelli told AAP yesterday.
“As he’s getting older I think his metabolism has changed and we just need to do more with him.
“He looked too well before his last race and he pulled up too well so we’ll give him more work.”
The rising seven-year-old son of Testa Rossa is among the dozen nominations taken on Monday for this weekend’s Group 3 $150,000 Festival Stakes (1500m), one of the early Sydney Summer Racing Carnival features.
Portelli is hoping from an improved effort from his $1.25 million earner after Testashadow disappointed with a flat seventh in the November Handicap (1400m) first-up at Rosehill on November 18.
In Tuesday’s 1050m open trial the horse finished three and a half lengths back seventh.
Testashadow was racing competitively during the autumn including his third to subsequent Doncaster Mile winner It’s Somewhat in the Group 2 Ajax Stakes (1500m) over the Festival Stakes track / distance in March.
He ran third again in late April’s Group 3 Hawkesbury Cup (1600m), but has not enjoyed a win of his own since saluting first-up in mid-January at the Gold Coast in the $1 million Magic Millions Cup (1400m).
Portelli is unsure whether he will make another raid on the Gold Coast Magic Millions Carnival in January next year and that it would come down to how Testashadow ran on Saturday and over the summer races in Sydney.
“I’m not sure until we know where we are at with him but the other option is to run him in the Villiers next month,” Portelli said.
The Group 2 $250,000 Villiers Stakes (1600m) takes place of the Royal Randwick mile on December 16.
Last year’s Festival Stakes meanwhile was won by the Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott-trained mare Sweet Redemption (2016).
Waterhouse & Bott are back chasing successive Festival Sakes victories on the weekend nominating for Testashadow’s last start conqueror Cabeza De Vaca.
The flying Northern Meteor six-year-old has won his latest five races on the trot going back to December last year and has impressed in both his lead-up runs this preparation.
Other key Festival Stakes entries including the James Cummings-trained November Handicap third placegetter Federal, the fellow Godolphin-raced Moher coming off a Flemington win over 1400m on Emirates Stakes Day and four Chris Waller-trained runners including Group 1 winner Japonisme.
The official Festival Stakes 2017 field and updated odds at Ladbrokes.com.au are set for release on Wednesday.
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