Golden Slipper-winning trainer Gary Portelli has declared there is no better time to get involved in racing following a lucrative and innovative revamp of the Sydney spring carnival.
Racing NSW and the Australian Turf Club will next year introduce the $7.5 million Golden Eagle, a 1500-metre race for four-year-olds to be run at Rosehill on the same afternoon as Flemington’s Derby day meeting.
“I think it’s fantastic. Have we got a horse that’s good enough for that? Probably not,” Portelli said.
“But the fact it gets people talking, there are fantastic headlines about racing now, there’s no gloom and doom. People are now wanting to get back in the game again.
“It’s only going to make racing better having these bigger races.”
Portelli might not have an immediate candidate for the Golden Eagle but he is keen to target the Golden Gift, a two-year-old race which, as part of the reinvigorated spring program, will be held a week later and from 2019 worth $1 million.
The trainer, who won last year’s Golden Slipper with She Will Reign, says the lure of a rich spring race for juveniles has the potential to change the landscape of two-year-old racing in Sydney.
“I think you’re probably going to see the Golden Slipper winner go around in that race,” he said.
“It suits stables like mine that are able to put the time into the young ones and get them to the track.”