The Ben, Will & JD Hayes-trained Cox...
Gary Portelli’s Slipper winning filly Fireburn has been withdrawn from Saturday’s 2023 Queensland Oaks field at Eagle Farm with Renaissance Woman moving to top spot in betting.
Rebel Dane filly Fireburn was clear favourite to take out this year’s Group 1 $700,000 Channel 7 Queensland Oaks (2200m) following her impressive lead-up win in the Group 2 The Roses (2000m) at Doomben on May 20.
Her Warwick Farm-based trainer Portelli however was forced to officially withdraw his young star from the Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival event at 12:49pm on Thursday with Fireburn on vet’s advice.
The two-time Group 1 winning filly was out to make history as the first Golden Slipper winner to take out an Oaks since the 2006 achievement of Miss Finland.
She has been denied that chance however with Queensland Racing Integrity Commission vets declaring her lame.
Portelli remains frustrated with the decision saying his filly simply has a “weird gait”.
“They wouldn’t accept what we said, even though my vets said this is the way she is,” Portelli told the media.
“They are all scared that something is going to happen.
“I can’t believe they have found her 2.5 out of 5 lame, if they have, I guess I have to accept it.
“But she has never been 2.5 lame.
“She trots off with this weird gait because she is lopsided in her hind quarter.
“When she first trots off, she has this weird gait.
“But within 50 metres you could put her around at Harold Park and she would win.
“I said to them to put a saddle on her tomorrow and go and ride her and you will thank God you didn’t scratch her.
“She has always been the same.”
Despite frustrations Portelli has accepted the decision and will focus on the next goal with his classy $4.2 million earner.
“I have got to go with the rules, I am a rule player,” he added diplomatically.
“I understand if I forced them to run her and she broke down, well then, that’s on me too.
“But I do believe what they are seeing is what we were seeing before she won The Roses.”
Fireburn is now set for a spell with Portelli looking forward to her spring return where the Group 1 $5 million Caulfield Cup (2400m) on October 21 could be on the agenda.
“I need to make sure I get some video footage of the horse and make sure everyone sees, this is the way she gets around,” he said.
Current all-in 2023 Caulfield Cup odds at Ladbrokes.com.au have Fireburn listed as a $67 chance in pre-nomination markets.
As for Saturday’s Oaks the markets now have the Bjorn Baker-trained The Roses runner-up Renaissance Woman as the $3.70 favourite with Joshua Parr retaining the ride.
The other single-figure fancies are the flying Ciaron Maher & David Eustace-trained Group 1 Australasian Oaks winner Affaire A Suivre ($4.50) chasing her fourth on the bounce and Ben Foote’s New Zealand raider Sakura Girl ($9) out wide as she looks to improve on her The Roses third last time out.
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