By Brad Gray
At Rosehill Gardens
The Group One Golden Rose is already in the back of trainer Gary Portelli’s mind after Ronstar made it two from two after, quite fittingly, taking out the Spring Carnival On Sale Monday Handicap (1200m).
Portelli will now consider whether he tackles a 1400m two-year-old handicap again at Rosehill Gardens in two weeks’ time, a race won two years ago by Foxplay, or send him to the paddock in readiness for the spring.
Ronstar remaining undefeated
“He has been a big late maturing type and had a bit of shin soreness early. Today was a bit of a crossroad I thought. We’ll have to sit down now and work out if we push on,” Portelli said.
“Otherwise, he is nominated for all the big ones down the track. If we do the right thing by him he’ll do the right thing by us.”
It’s not uncommon for the occasional top liner to emerge in the early winter with the likes of Press Statement and Viridine winning over the same period in the past few years and Portelli believes Ronstar will be even better out to 1400m.
“I think that’s when he’ll really get through his gears, leading over 1400m and make them chase him because if we start to build before the turn that’ll take the sprint away from those behind him,” he said.
“Today we might have held up for too long and gave everything else a chance to get to us. Once we get rolling from the 600m we’ll see a nice horse.”
There was a big money offer on the table for the Zoustar gelding, notorious for his prominent swayback, after he won on debut but the owners decided to race on, and were vindicated on Saturday where he led once more and simply refused to lose.
“He is a trier and what we saw again today is the horse we see every morning at trackwork. It’s funny, they go up to him but he just will not let them get past,” said Portelli.
“I thought the third horse (Irish Bet) had him at the top of the straight but he fought it off and then I saw Hawkes’ horse (Diplomatico) come with a late run and I don’t know if he sees them or what it is, but he just gets the job done.
“He has got a massive stride and it actually looks like he is going steady but his stride is so economical that horses behind him do two strides to his one.”
Winona Costin, whose only ride on the card was Ronstar, managed to pinch a telling breather between the 800m and 400m (12.37s, 11.95s via Punters Intel).
"He just keeps his nose in front and really wants to be a racehorse," said Costin,
"The other day they got past him and he fought back but today he knew what he was there for and always kept his nose in front."
— Loren Wadsworth (@lorenwadsworth) June 2, 2018