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Portelli’s Best Kept Secret

By Brad Gray
At Rosehill Gardens

Race experience can often be the difference between winning and losing.

That was certainly the case in the Golden Gift (1100m) at Rosehill Gardens with the professionalism of Secret Lady proving the difference over boom colt Plague Stone.

Plague Stone was backed into $1.35 with TAB Fixed Odds before jump but his supporters weren’t on good terms with themselves throughout the event with the Lonhro youngster over racing in the middle stages before being allowed to slide forward by Brenton Avdulla to outside of Gary Portelli’s Secret Lady.

“He just did a bit wrong,” reported Avdulla upon return to scale, “He jumped okay. There was a line of three of them early but I just thought I’d come back and get him to travel but he didn’t want to switch off for me behind that slow speed so I had to let him stride around them.”

All credit to the winner though, a Choisir filly bought at Magic Millions in Perth, who ran second to Plague Stone’s stablemate Dynamited on debut.

“I was pretty confident when I saw the favourite doing a lot wrong. With her race fitness she was always going to fall back on that. The second horse was a bit unlucky but we had our horse ready to go, got the job done and now we are qualified for the Magic Millions and probably the Slipper, whichever way we go,” said Portelli.

“She is a really good doer and I don’t think I’d get away with being easy on her. She needs racing and I thought she looked a bit fat again. I worked her on Tuesday with Cosmic Cameo and she worked beautifully. I had a decision Thursday, do I back off like I always do with my two year olds or do I give I the work. I’m glad I worked her doing a bit of pace work because I reckon she would have been as big as a whale coming here today.

“She is a really good doer, such a relaxed filly and has a stack of ability. She’ll only improve from here on.”

Portelli, who has an army of 40 two-year-old under his care at his Warwick Farm stable, gave Secret Lady the nod as the stable’s flag juvenile bearer for the time being.

“She has shown a lot from day one. She has been a natural. We’re hoping there is some we haven’t pushed the button on yet that will come through. We’ve got a stack of horses this year that can gallop which is great but this is the most precocious.”

Young jockey Lee Magorrian paid back Portelli’s faith in him, allowing the apprentice to retain the ride despite not being able to claim any of his 3kg.

“She is a really nice filly and travelled really well. Whatever you ask of her she just delivers,” Magorrian said.

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All images by Steve Hart

Check out all the results and replays for Saturday's Rosehill Gardens meeting

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