Gary Portelli can start determining a spring campaign for Ronstar providing the unbeaten two-year-old dictates terms at Rosehill.
After back-to-back wins over 1200m, Ronstar tackles the distance his trainer feels is custom-made in Saturday’s Australian Turf Club Handicap.
The Warwick Farm trainer forecast a step up to 1400m for Ronstar after his most recent win at Rosehill on June 2 and he gets his wish for the fast-starting, front-running talent.
“It’s the perfect opportunity. It’s a small field. I think we’ll go straight to the front on him and run a good solid seven furlongs out,” he said.
Winona Costin will be instructed to set the pace so Ronstar can endeavour to run his rivals ragged before they hit the straight.
“The way he begins, he’s put himself there. The other day he was a length in front before they even came out of the barriers,” Portelli said.
“He can roll in front, put the tempo on before the turn and make horses behind him know they’ve been in a race. He’s better going through his gears a little earlier.”
Ronstar has won his two races by a short half-head and a half-head, but Portelli believes the time is right to make a statement ahead of spring through a decisive winning margin.
“There’s a different feel about him since his last win,” he said.
“There’s just a bit of confidence about him. He seems like he really knows what he’s here for now.”
Portelli’s only concern was whether Irish Bet would continue to improve for John O’Shea and if Pedicel ($4.40) from Lindsay Park could take advantage of a 4-1/2kg weight advantage.
Irish Bet was the narrow $3.20 favourite with the TAB on Thursday, with Ronstar the $3.50 second elect.
Portelli said if Ronstar won three on the trot, black-type beckoned.
“We’ll get an idea for sure about spring,” he said.
Portelli also saddles up three-year-old filly Nicci’s Gold ($17) second-up in the Ascot Restaurant Sale (1400m) following her unplaced comeback over 1200m at Rosehill on June 2.
“The fact Jason (Collett) has wasted to get down to the weight (53.5kg) gives us confidence,” Portelli said.
“He was very keen to stick with her.”