For the second time former Orange and now Warwick Farm trainer Gary Portelli has two chances in the Longlines Golden Slipper (1200m), and he’s not the only link the colour city has to this weekend’s $3.5 million sprint at Rosehill Gardens.
One of Portelli’s runners, two-year-old brown colt Single Bullet, is also part-owned by a number of punters who form the aptly named Orange syndicate.
Single Bullet remains a $26 outsider leading into the race but is in serious form, he’s yet miss a place in his four-start career, loves a heavy track as is expected at Rosehill and is coming off a barnstorming victory in last weekend’s $175,000 Group 3 Pago Pago Stakes (1200m).
Prior to that, the honest Not A Single Doubt colt ran third at Randwick over 1200 and recorded two second finishes at Wyong and Warwick Farm as well.
"The last week he has come good and I just had the feeling he is really going to improve. He won and we are in the Slipper,” Portelli told the Sydney Morning Herald just after the Pago Pogo stakes win.
Portelli, who along with brother Troy acted as trackwork riders and breakers for their mother Maureen after the family moved to Orange from Sydney before taking over her racing licence in 1990, has two-year-old brown filly She Will Reign running on Saturday as well.
She’ll run from barrier 13 and is sitting at $5.50 odds, while Single Bullet will jump from barrier five.
She Will Reign, as to be expected coming into the Slipper, enters the $3.5 million race in good form as well. Portelli’s filly is coming off a second at Randwick earlier this month and a win at Rosehill before that.
The trainer admitted that he hasn't always been able to split the two horses.
"I didn't have much them between at the beginning and I wasn't sure which was better," Portelli said.
"Obviously [She Will Reign] has done it and [Single Bullet] had not before [the Pago Pogo Stakes] but I have never been totally happy with him.
"I'm going to be happy to find out which one is better [on Saturday].
"She is going great and he is improving."
The pair will face stiff competition from pre-race favourite Houtzen ($4.40), while Catchy ($6) and Pariah ($8.50) are also expected to challenge.
The Golden Slipper jumps at 4.10pm and is the seventh in a massive 10-race program at Rosehill.