First Season Sires Dominate Millennium

Gary Portelli
Gary Portelli will saddle up one of the nine Inglis Millennium runners by a first season sire.

Winning a $2 million race is a game changer for any horse but this year’s Inglis Millennium result could also be a significant shot in the arm for the victorious sire.

Nine of the 16 runners are by first season stallions with seven individual sires represented.

Newgate Farm’s Capitalist has the biggest delegation with three runners while his freshman barn mates Extreme Choice, Flying Artie and Winning Rupert all have starters.

Star Turn, Sooboog and Shalaa, already the sire of Magic Millions winner Shaquero, round out the new dads on the block.

Gary Portelli will saddle up Winning Rupert’s flagbearer Hi Hi Hi and says he cannot recall so many first season sires producing runners in a feature two-year-old race.

“Nine runners in the race, that’s a massive stat for first season sires,” Portelli said.

“It’s not often that happens in the big races. You’ve usually got the Snitzels and the Not A Single Doubts dominating.

“But you’ve got the Shalaas, a Winning Rupert, all those stallions.

“Everyone who has yearlings in (the Inglis Classic sale) this weekend by these stallions will be riding these first season sires.”

Portelli’s chances of getting Winning Rupert on the board in a feature two-year-old race were dealt a blow when Hi Hi Hi drew barrier 15.

The trainer was lamenting the decision to reduce the race from 1200m to 1100m from last year, believing the shorter distances make it tough for horses drawn wide.

He is hoping his filly can utilise her natural gate speed to find a position and draws confidence from her debut performance at Canterbury when she scored a runaway 3-1/2 length win.

“We’re hoping she can get across a few early,” Portelli said.

“But barriers make or break horses in these 1000, 1100 metre races. Over 1200, the best horse probably comes out and wins.

“The classic races, – the Blue Diamond, the Golden Slipper, the Black Opal, the Magic Millions – they’re all 1200 metres.”

Hi Hi Hi is a $17 chance with TAB fixed odds while Profiteer remains steadfast at the top of markets as a $1.75 favourite.

Portelli’s other Randwick runner, Spaceboy ($5), will also be taking on a hotpot in Written Beauty ($1.35 fav) but the Warwick Farm trainer is not conceding defeat.

“Spaceboy is flying. I know there is an odds-on favourite in the race but whatever beats him will win,” he said.

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