By Ray Hickson
Ruby Tuesday’s connection to an important charity means trainer Gary Portelli is more than happy to chase prizemoney over black type.
The emerging four-year-old, whose silks feature a pink ribbon, chases successive wins at Hawkesbury in the Blakes Marine Handicap (1500m) on Saturday and if she achieves it Portelli will be tempted to back up in the inaugural $500,000 The Coast next weekend.
Ten per cent of all Ruby Tuesday’s training fees, management and prizemoney won goes to the National Breast Cancer Foundation and building a sizeable bank for them is the Warwick Farm trainer’s priority number one.
“We’ll keep going through her grades, because she’s a Breast Cancer Foundation donator our key is to try to get as many wins as we can,’’ Portelli said.
“I’m trying to win as much prizemoney as we can so we can get a good kitty for the Foundation rather than go to black type.
“I’m sure at some point she will have a crack at something better but I’d like to do the right thing by the Foundation.”
The Coast is run over 1600m at Gosford on May 8 and is restricted to three and four-year-olds.
Portelli said Ruby Tuesday, named after the Rolling Stones song, has bounced through her course record breaking win over 1500m on April 14 but admits to being a little nervous about expecting her to do it again.
It was the first time the mare had got it right in a race. With Tom Marquand in the saddle she bounded from the gates, led and broke away to an easy two length win.
The hope that Ruby Tuesday, $4.60 with TAB on Thursday, will repeat her effective start led Portelli to engage Tim Clark.
“He’s such a good rider on horses who do jump well,’’ he said.
“If she’s up near the lead you know she’s going to be rated well and given every opportunity at her first go in Saturday company.
“It’s hard to get excited that she could do it twice in a row after doing it so wrong so many times. I’m not sure what to expect but if she does jump they will know she’s in the race.
“The only concern is the professionals, and the big punters who do their statistics, say when a horse puts in what would have been a PB they can race below expectations at their next start.”
It’s worth noting that Portelli doesn’t need her to lead to win, Ruby Tuesday’s previous Hawkesbury victory was one of those that had to be seen to be believed.
“One time at Hawkesbury she came from an impossible position to win, it was a phenomenal run,’’ he said.
“So she has that ability to get herself out of trouble when she puts herself into it but it makes it a lot easier if she jumps well.”
Stablemate Amoretti ($10) returns quickly to his comfort zone in the Living Turf Handicap (1800m) less than two weeks after he contested a 1200m event off a two month break.
Ruby Tuesday wins at Hawkesbury on April 14
Portelli said the gelding only had a couple of weeks in the paddock and came back very fit so he can see a scenario where Amoretti can be very competitive.
He put together three wins on end over December and January between a mile and 1900m and gets a 4kg weight drop on his two length defeat at Canterbury on April 21.
“Yeah it’s unorthodox but if they don’t go quick it’ll be an easy 1800m,’’ Portelli said.
“If that happens his fitness levels are good enough to run out a solid 1800m but if they run along he could be in trouble.
“This is not the strongest race when you have the favourite (Yangtze Rapids) coming out of a maiden at Canterbury. You’ve got to say to yourself it’s well worth a crack at it.”