By Ray Hickson
Trainer Gary Portelli is hoping talented three-year-old Disruptor can start to make up for lost time when he returns from an unexpected 10 month absence at Warwick Farm on Wednesday.
After the gelding posted his first win back in June, Portelli had his sights set on the spring carnival but those plans had to be shelved due to injury.
“I gave him a couple of weeks to freshen up, he was 10 days in just trot and cantering and he had a little buckle in his tendon so he had to have a long spell,’’ he said.
“He’s always shown above average ability, I thought he was a Group horse the first time I started galloping him. I thought he was our carnival horse that year.’’
Disruptor showed plenty of early promise with placings behind Anaheed and Reloaded at his first two starts and handled himself well in two starts in the Brisbane winter last year before returning home for his maiden win.
Portelli’s opinion of Disruptor hasn’t changed so he’s expecting a competitive return in the Hyland Race Colours Handicap (1200m).
He’s $4.40 with TAB and does have 61kg, though the limit is only 57.5kg, on a rain affected track and gives away race fitness to his rivals but Portelli said he’s done the necessary groundwork including a barrier trial win.
Disruptor wins a trial at Warwick Farm on March 20
“Rachel (King) said when he got to the front in the trial he half wanted to wait for them, but we were mindful that he’s come back from a long time off and didn’t want to knock him around too much,’’ he said.
“I’ve got to start him off somewhere and his leg is 100 per cent right.
“We want to get him back in one piece, win a couple of benchmark races with him and bring him back for the spring when he’s four.
“He should be running well if he has the future I think he can have going forward.”
Portelli is keen to test wet tracker Dio D’Oro at a mile in the All Too Hard @ Vinery Handicap (1600m) while he’s expecting honest mare Improvement to feature prominently first-up in the Yarraman Park Stud Handicap (1100m).
Dio D’Oro has only been beyond 1400m once, and that was at Group 2 level, and Portelli says he’s giving the impression that, in conditions he relishes, he will be a factor.
“As a colt he was always thick winded and had trouble breathing but since he’s been gelded, and he hasn’t had an operation, he now breathes well,’’ he said.
“He’s a different horse this preparation, I think he will run out the mile and the fact it is a wet track certainly has him in the race.’’
Improvement produced three second placings from five starts last preparation, and that was coming off an 18 month absence, and Portelli isn’t concerned about the mare jumping from a wide gate.
She ran a close second in a 795m trial on March 20 and the Warwick Farm trainer expects her to roll forward as usual.
“She had a nice spell and it’s a nice place to start her campaign,’’ he said.
“I like the way she trialled, she’s an older mare and you never know what they will do when they come back until you race them but on her trackwork 1100m is a perfect distance.’’