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Festival Stakes Won In The Shadows

By Brad Gray
At Rosehill Gardens

0.2L, 0.1L, 0.2L, 1L, O.5L, 1L, 0.1L, 0.1L.

That’s not Morse code. It’s the remarkable stretch of narrow winning margins in Testashadow’s eight career victories. He simply knows how to win.

The latest of those victories of course coming in the $150,000 Group Two Festival Stakes (1500m) where he outbobbed Chris Waller’s import Mister Sea Wolf.


Testashadow held on to take out the Festival Stakes

“He’s a great horse to our stable we love him,” trainer Gary Portelli said of the six-year-old.

“He’s getting a bit older and taking a little longer to perform. We trialled him on Tuesday just to try and get some weight off him and I thought he trialled nicely. I still thought he looked a bit chubby when I saddled him up today.”

“It was a great ride, he settled him nicely and just brought him to the right part of the track. At the 600m I was a little worried, he was starting to ask him for an effort and there wasn’t a real lot there but he kept at him and got the job done.

“We’ve got to head to the Villiers. I said to the jockey before the race, ‘we’ll see today where we are at’. The plan was to have a couple of runs and go to the Gold Coast again ready for 1400m fresh. It’s just good to see him back in the winners’ circle.”

Jason Collet, meanwhile, was always confident he had got Testashadow’s nose down on the line to get the verdict but wasn’t exuding that same confidence at the top of the straight.

“At the 400m I was just hoping to stay in contention. Then you go from one extreme to the other where next thing you are in front 200m-150m from home and you think ‘I’m only second up.’

“There was 100m to go and I was starting to get a bit worried and tried to get the head down on the line.

“He is tough. He made me work for it though. Whether he is just getting a bit older but from the 1000m I was at him and once I settled he hit the front probably too soon and he was left there.”

Cabeza De Vaca jumped the easing favourite to start $3.70 with TAB Fixed Odds but never looked comfortable when Rachel King asked for an effort in the straight. King said “he didn’t handle the track at all. He was really struggling in it all of the way.”

Stewards also reported that the six-year-old pulled up lame on the near fore.

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

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