By Ray Hickson
Trainer Gary Portelli is aiming to have promising youngsters Time To Reign and Disruptor all but qualified for next year’s Golden Slipper over the next two Saturdays.
Time To Reign, the half-brother to Portelli’s 2017 Slipper winner She Will Reign, is out to keep his unbeaten record intact in the Lack Group Handicap (1100m) at Rosehill on Saturday then a week later Disruptor, a promising second on debut on Everest Day, steps out over 1200m chasing early prizemoney.
Portelli figures it usually takes about $140,000 prizemoney to secure a spot in the $3.5m Golden Slipper run on March 23.
Another win would see Time To Reign (excluding BOBS money) not far off that mark so his decision to say home in favour of a Melbourne trip is shaping as a masterstroke.
“If you can get that bit of pressure off yourself and say 'ok I’m now qualified', then you have to prove you should be there,’’ Portelli said.
“We were going in this race with Disruptor but there’s no good having two horses in the one race that can win. Let’s give them both a chance to qualify for the Slipper.’’
Time To Reign is widely expected to make it two from two on Saturday with TAB posting him a $1.45 favourite in the six horse field.
He led all the way to win the Kirkham Plate (1000m) at Randwick on October 20 and Portelli said the colt has come through that win on a wet track in fine style but is expecting to see what he’s really made of on a good surface.
“We’ve seen enough of him on top of the ground to suggest he’s pretty effective. It was more of a relief to see him handle the wet as well,’’ he said.
“He looks better, he knows what he’s here for now and I’m looking forward to seeing what he can do. I really want to see him open up in the straight.
“If he can put it together and show us what he’s got then we can sit down and work out a program, hopefully he’s good enough to go to the Slipper.’’
Time To Reign's easy debut win at Randwick on October 20
Plundering prizemoney is Portelli’s aim with talented three-year-old Ronstar and he was quite surprised at the gelding’s place in the market in the Dynaton Sales & Hire Handicap (1200m).
Ronstar won his first two starts mid-year, including one over boom colt Diplomatico, yet is a $5.50 chance with TAB in what will be a five horse field.
That aside, Portelli said he’s satisfied he made the right move in not running Ronstar on a wet track first-up.
“We decided not to have him ready for the early spring,’’ he said.
“We want to try to get as much BOBS money into him as we can during the summer.
“Hopefully he gets into black type but he’s a gelding and there is so much prizemoney to be won if you place your horses properly.’’