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Portelli's Banking On Fast Pace In Friday's Muswellbrook Cup

Above And Beyond ($9 on TAB) has already proven to be a bargain buy for his owners and his career prizemoney could jump considerably with success in Friday’s $150,000 Hunter Thoroughbred Breeders Association Muswellbrook Gold Cup (1500m).

The five-year-old was a fast-finishing last start winner on the Kensington Track on March 10.

He will be ridden by Robbie Dolan who got the job done when Above And Beyond was successful at Rosehill Gardens on January 16.

Above and Beyond (Thomas Marquand) scores on the Kensington Track. Image by Bradley Photographers

It’s a quality line-up for the Muswellbrook Cup which is the highest prizemoney race at the meeting and sits perfectly alongside the Newhaven Park Country Championships Wild Card.

The feature country meeting has attracted the attention of some of the major stables and Above And Beyond’s trainer Gary Portelli hopes he can add the race to his list of feature race triumphs.

“I’m pretty sure he is my first runner in the Muswellbrook Cup.

"I’m a country boy coming from Orange where I have won the Orange Cup and I would love to win the Muswellbrook Cup,” he said.

“Above And Beyond has improved each preparation and has been able to win in Saturday Sydney grade this campaign.

“It is definitely his go when the speed is on and he can chase and finish down the outside.”

Above And Beyond already has career earnings of $360,000 which is well above his purchase price of $40,000 at the Gold Coast Magic Millions.

Portelli liked Above And Beyond – a son of former top galloper Sebring – and he was delighted to secure the then yearling so cheap.

“I thought he would cost about $150,000. One of the owners, David Henderson, liked him as well and secured 20% and then some owners (Glen and Lisa Morton) which raced Gold Trail with me bought in as well with some other people,” he added.

“He has been a really nice horse all of the way through and has a pretty strong record. It’s a tough race and I would like to see the track at least get to a slow for him to have his best chance.

“How the track ends up after the rain they've had is the big thing with him.”

Last year’s Cup was a blowout with $51 chance Petrology spacing his rivals by more than three lengths. This time a horse with a similar name, Petronius ($4.80), is rated one of the main chances along with Starspangled Rodeo ($3 favourite).

Petronius was successful on a soft track on the Kensington Track last start, while Starspangled Rodeo was narrowly defeated by Yao Dash at Rosehill at his latest attempt.

Above And Beyond has converted 34 starts into six wins and 10 placings giving him a close to 50% top-three finish. Portelli hopes the Cup can be a perfect lead-in to the Wellington Cup on Sunday where he has two-year-old, Single Touch, entered.

View the final fields with full form & race replays for Muswellbrook here

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