Horses for courses mantra more important than ever

Wet tracks are so entrenched in Sydney and dry tracks so reliable in Melbourne that at some point, this has to start playing on the minds of the players.

Strategies will surely become more attuned to it.

For instance, will players start digging deeper to establish if their horses – starting with those they breed – will be suited more on major jurisdiction than the other?

Is there any point having a dry tracker trained in Sydney or a wet tracker trained in Melbourne?

When the connections of Profondo look ahead all they see are wet tracks and a dry track horse.

Profondo winning the Moet & Chandon Spring Champion Stakes at Royal Randwick

Profondo got lucky last spring, striking good tracks in the Glaming and Spring Champion Stakes where his reaching stride and ace dry track pedigree – a son of Japanese super sire Deep Impact – showcased his talent.

The first time Profondo was presented with soft going was in the Australian Guineas at Flemington on saturday. A myriad of factors derailed Profondo, including a rushed week and a wide gate, but the ground didn’t help either.

And it’s only going to get worse.

Is this what we will see in Sydney in coming weeks? Both Rosehill and Randwick are expecting more rain and wet tracks

The forecast for Sydney is press and repeat; more heavy sub-tropical rain, a wet Golden Slipper carnival and a wet Championships. Things can change but that is the annual pattern. And regardless of perception, Sydney is also often wet in spring.

Profondo is a potential racing and stud goldmine but it seems he needs firm ground to realise his potential. If he is unable to adapt to soft going, what – and where – is his future?

The carnivals move from city to city but each has its feature spread and they are eight hours apart by truck.

You can be a number of Victorian stables will be chipping away, reminding Profondo’s ownership group that Melbourne is perfect for the showcasing of this elite colt.

Trainer Gary Portelli

Either by accident or design, Gary Portelli has made a killing in rain-sodden Sydney.

He paid just $20,000 for She Will Reign and won a Golden Slipper with her.

This year, Portelli has two big contenders for the Golden Slipper, a remarkable feat given Portelli is a self-confessed “toiler” with a small stable compared to the powerhouses who buy more than 100 yearlings a year.

Sejardan won the Todman on Saturday and is now $7 second favorite for the Slipper and Fireburn is a $17 chance after winning the Sweet Embrace a week earlier.

For Portelli, the only disparity between Sejardan and Fireburn is the gap between them in the Slipper market.

The similarity – and this extends to She Will Reign – is that they were blue-collar but bred to handle the wet and have delivered on ground that usually suits them.

Ben Melham riding ‘She Will Reign’ celebrates after winning the 2017 Golden Slipper

She Will Reign was a neat little yearling by a wet track sire in Manhattan Rain. She found a heavy at Rosehill and kicked mud in her wake and into the path of all those $1 million rivals with spinning wheels.

Sejardan cost $160,000, an expensive yearling for Portelli who trains for syndicated who struggle to sub-divide to mum and dad owners with small budgets and want small shares.

He is by Sebring, a successful but not sexy sire according to Portelli.

Sebring won a Golden Slipper – on the slop.

Fireburn is a daughter of Portelli’s former top sprinter Rebel Dane – also a mudrunner.

“I’m lucky enough in that the ones I’ve got this year that can gallop are by stallions that excel in the wet. Sebring won a wet Golden Slipper and throws wet trackers and Fireburn’s sire Rebel Dane ran second to Lankan Rubee on a bog that day in the TJ Smith,” he said.

Lankan Rupee (Left) winning the TJ Smith ahead of Rebel Dane (Red cap) in bottomless conditions at Randwick

“You always know coming into the autumn in Sydney that you’re going to get soft tracks and the odds are good if you have a two-year-old that handles the wet. It always plays into your hands.”

Portelli said the track was “quite testing” at Randwick on Saturday and there will be no improvement at Rosehill.

“It’s looking a bit that way,” he said.

Portelli is unsure if Sejardan is better than Fireburn or vice versa but he knows one thing.

“They are as good as each other on the wet,” he said.




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