Gary Portelli taking two to Randwick

By: Caryl Williamson Monday 16 December 2019

Gary Portelli's hopes of a home track advantage have been dashed by the transfer of the Warwick Farm meeting to Randwick because of forecast high temperatures in western Sydney.

Racing NSW acted swiftly on Monday to move Saturday's races from Warwick Farm which is expecting a high of 43 degrees.

Temperatures at Randwick are forecast to be around 10 degrees cooler.

Portelli will run Ronstar over 1200 metres in a benchmark 88 and Above And Beyond in the Benchmark 72 handicap over 1400m.

"It's disappointing," Portelli said.

"I had the race picked out for Above And Beyond a while ago and now he loses the home track advantage.

"There's no doubt they probably shouldn't race but I think this is the third year in a row we have lost a Saturday meeting at this time of year so maybe it's time to look at whether they should be scheduled."

Ronstar is coming off a last-start fourth when he finished 1-1/2 lengths from the winner The Party Girl at Rosehill last Saturday week while Above And Beyond finished seventh at his first start for almost six months over 1200m at Canterbury on November 29.

"Above And Beyond is screaming out for 1400 metres," Portelli said.

"And Ronstar was good last start so hopefully he can go on with it."

While he is cautiously optimistic about his two Randwick runners, Portelli is more pleased with what he has seen from Group Two winner Time To Reign.

The colt ran third in a barrier trial at Hawkesbury on Monday morning after missing the spring when he failed to recover as quickly as hoped from a virus.

"His trial was very good even if he didn't win it," Portelli said.

"We have picked out an 1100-metre Listed race (Kensington Stakes) up the straight at Flemington for him on January the 18th.

"It seems an ideal starting point. We will keep him to short races and build up to 1200 metres."

Time To Reign is a half brother to the Portelli-trained 2017 Golden Slipper winner She Will Reign.

Still Reigning, a full sister to Time To Reign, won a Hawkesbury barrier trial on December 5 and is likely to make her debut early in the new year.