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Acid Test For Portelli's Unbeaten Star

By Ray Hickson

If unbeaten youngster Ronstar is to be a spring contender trainer Gary Portelli wants to see him put a field away at Rosehill on Saturday.

And the best way Portelli can think for Ronstar, whose wins have been by a short half head and half a head, to do that is to be the master of his own destiny.

With that in mind, don’t be surprised to see Ronstar attempt to put his rivals to the sword early in the Australian Turf Club Handicap (1400m).

“I’d probably like to see Winona (Costin) possibly lead or get going a little earlier so he’s not in a situation where they are coming at him and have him put them under pressure instead,’’ Portelli said.

“I think he likes to roll, if something wants to lead we’ll sit up outside but I think we will be putting more pressure on before the turn so he’s at his top by the time he straightens.

“He’s better going through his gears a little earlier.’’


Ronstar makes it two from two at Rosehill on June 2

Tactical battles aside, Portelli is convinced Ronstar is well above average.

On debut he was softened up in the lead, found on the bend then looked to be vulnerable before fending off the challengers.

It was a similar story at Rosehill two weeks ago though the gelding sat outside the leader then took over and managed to bulldog his way to the line in front.

Punters Intel data shows Ronstar ran faster overall time on debut than at his second start but he finished off the race on June 2 in 34.29, some 0.8 seconds quicker than that first outing.

“How good is he? I don’t know. He just seems to do what he has to do to win and he does that in trackwork as well,’’ Portelli said.

“I think he wants to win but I don’t think he knows how to use his action yet. He scrambles a bit when they go with him then he levels out and hits the line.

“To get carried away and think he’s a spring carnival horse you’d like to see him put a margin on horses.’’

Ronstar, who will carry top weight of 58.5kg on Saturday, holds the distinction of being his owner-breeder Ron Burns’ first Saturday winner in a couple of years.

Portelli said Burns has piled plenty of money into racing and it’s ironic that the best horse he’s found in recent years is one he bred himself and the trainer hopes the best is yet to come.

“He’s rock hard fit, knows where the winning post is, there’s no excuses. The only problem is if something in lighter can match it with him,’’ Portelli said.

“If we win this race we are forced into black type racing no doubt about that.’’

Ronstar opened $3.70 second favourite with TAB on Wednesday behind Irish Bet ($3.30) who ran third behind the Portelli youngster last start but has a 1.5kg weight turnaround.

All the fields, form and replays for Saturday's meeting at Rosehill Gardens

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