By Ray Hickson
It’s still three months until the Australian Oaks is run and won but trainer Gary Portelli is looking to well bred filly Parche to tell him The Championships should be a target when she resumes at Warwick Farm on Wednesday.
Parche showed a heap of promise with an eye-catching debut fourth before pulling up shin sore at her second start and having her spring cut short but Portelli is rapt with her ahead of the TAB Venue Mode Handicap (1400m).
Portelli said her rousing trial win on her home track two weeks ago provides a glimpse of what she’s capable of.
“We've always thought she was pretty good,’’ he said.
“I'm thinking possibly an Oaks campaign. She has a stout pedigree but she is by I Am Invincible and they can do anything.
“In her first trial she was just fat, the second trial I said to James (McDonald) to switch her off and then switch her on and see how she goes.’’
Parche wins a trial at Warwick Farm on January 2
She put over three lengths on her opposition in a 1200m trial as she strode down the outside and that could well be a preview of what to expect on race day after she drew what some would view a poor alley.
Parche was a solid $2.40 favourite with TAB on Tuesday despite the extreme outside alley but Portelli believes that is an advantage for her and it’ll be up to McDonald to steer her home.
An inside alley brought her undone at her debut on August 28 where Parche found herself buried on the fence near the tail before getting out late to run fourth behind Just Thinkin’ and Hulk.
“I won't be giving instructions, he's ridden her enough to know what's under the bonnet and hopefully she can do the rest,’’ Portelli said.
“We don't want to be inside horses with that big galloping action she's got. There's no panic, she can come down the straight run 10 wide not looking like she's going near a horse and just be where she's comfortable.
“There's no rush. If she's good enough she will pick them up.’’
If the filly has a kryptonite it’s her habit of getting worked up before the start of a race.
Portelli hopes a low key kick off on her home track and wearing ear muffs to the gates will help Parche keep her cool and allow her to show what she’s made of.
“She's a bit of a hypo horse, even as a foal. She has the ability to run her race beforehand,’’ he said.
“When they start doing that no matter how much ability they've got they don't turn up on race day.’’
Portelli said he expects an improved showing from Individualist in the Territories @ Darley Handicap (1400m) while with the forecast for rain later in the week Dio O’Oro is likely to be saved for either Canterbury on Friday or Rosehill on Saturday.