Gold Coast trainer Maryann Brosnan is expecting a positive first-up showing from former Victorian galloper Portion Control when he kicks off a new chapter of his racing career at Grafton on Monday.
Portion Control, formerly trained by the David Hayes-Ben Hayes-Tom Dabernig team, has his first start for Brosnan in Monday's Happy Birthday Jack Marscham Open Hcp (1400m).
A four-time winner in Victoria, including the $250,000 Inglis Cup (2000m) at Caulfield in 2016, Portion Control was purchased for $33,000 by prominent Queensland owner Noel Fuller at the Inglis Spring Thoroughbred Sale in September.
Brosnan has been impressed with what she's seen of Portion Control in the few months she's had him and believes Monday's race is an ideal race to kick off his campaign.
The six-year-old geared up for his return to racing with a second to Princefamous in a 1000m Gold Coast barrier trial on October 30.
"He's a lovely horse and we're hoping the change of scenery near the beach up here on the Gold Coast will be good for him," said Brosnan.
"I'd have to say that he's not the greatest trackworker, but his trial here at the Gold Coast the other week was very good and Dan Griffin, who rode him that day, was quite impressed with him.
Portion Control's trial at the Gold Coast on October 30
"We thought this 1400m race at Grafton would be an ideal starting point for him. He's run some very good races first-up in the past, so hopefully he can start off here on the right note."
Portion Control compiled a record of four wins, eight placings and $361,160 in prizemoney when trained by the Hayes-Dabernig team.
Portion Control's best form in Victoria was around 1700m to 2000m, but he has often pulled out a good run when fresh. He has finished runner-up three times in five previous first-up runs.
First-up in his previous preparation earlier this year, Portion Control ran a great race over 1400m at Flemington on June 23 when second to the talented Barthelona.
He hasn't raced since August 26 when down the track behind Haripour over 2080m at Cranbourne.
The Snitzel six-year-old has drawn the outside gate in Monday's 13-horse field and carries 60.5kg.
"Ideally, we would have obviously preferred a better draw and from that gate he'll have to get back," said Brosnan.
"I didn't want him to have to carry too much dead weight so Matt McGuren will ride him. He's a bit of a quirky horse as some of these older horses are, and really there aren't that many claiming apprentices available anyway.
"On his best Victorian form he should run very well in Monday's race and can start to repay his purchase price. He looks like a horse who should certainly pay his way up here when he gets up around 2000m."
One of Portion Control's main rivals in Monday's race looks to be the Scott Cumming-trained Landmarks, a two-time Grafton winner who should relish the step up to the 1400.
Matt McGuren also rides Brosnan's only other Grafton runner on Monday, Cambodian Prince in the Class 2 Hcp (1700m).
Cambodian Prince will be on a five-day back-up after finishing fifth to Show'em in a Class 3 Plate (1350m) at Ipswich on Wednesday (November 14).
"I think he'll appreciate the drop back in class, the step up in distance and the five-day back-up, but the weight is the real concern for him in Monday's race," said Brosnan.
Cambodian Prince carries the top weight of 60.5kg, 5kg more than the next highest weighted rival.
Monday's seven-race Grafton meeting kicks off with the marathon Road To Jericho Cup Benchmark 66 Hcp over 3120m.
The staying test is one of the qualifying races for the $300,000 The Jericho Cup to be run over 4600m at Warrnambool on December 2.
The Jericho Cup celebrates the 100th anniversary of the original race conducted by the Australian Light Horse over three miles in the desert sands of the Middle East during World War I. The 1918 Jericho Cup was won by the legendary Australian war horse Bill The Bastard.
Seven stayers have accepted for Monday's Grafton race and the one to beat looks to be the in-form Tough One, winner of three of his past six starts, including a last-start victory over 2650m at Ballina on November 5.