First starter Exceltic will be on a mission to expose his Golden Slipper credentials when he makes his race day debut in the Group 3 $150,000 Toyota Material Handling Canonbury Stakes (1100m) at Rosehill on Saturday.
Exceltic is up against top Golden Slipper fancy Performer in the small five horse Canonbury Stakes for the two year olds and has drawn barrier two with Melbourne Cup winning jockey Corey Brown in the saddle.
Trainer Gary Portelli won the Group 1 $3.5m Longines Golden Slipper (1200m) at Rosehill last year with his smart filly She Will Reign and will get a good guide on Saturday if he is to be in the winner’s stall again on March 24.
“I am a bit excited about Exceltic,” Portelli told The Daily Telegraph.
“He’s a lovely, big strong colt but I do think he will be better suited in a race where there is a big field and plenty of pressure.”
“I just wish we weren’t taking on the Golden Slipper favourite (Performer), although we will get a good line on our colt.’’
Exceltic has had three barrier trials for three wins, his latest over 797m at Warwick Farm on January 15 and has firmed in the early betting at Ladbrokes.com.au for the Canonbury Stakes to be the second favourite at $3.90 behind the Chris Waller trained Performer who heads the market order at $1.65.
Portelli will also saddle up Dio D’Oro in the Canonbury Stakes and the Medaglia D’Oro colt is expected to show a lot of improvement after his debut second to Estijaab in a 1000m two year old Plate at Randwick on January 20.
Dio D’Oro has drawn barrier four with Jason Collett booked to ride and Portelli is also hopeful about the chances of the well bred colt who is marked at $9 for the Canonbury Stakes.
“This colt is flying under the radar,’’ Portelli said.
“I’ve entered him for Canterbury (Friday night) but he will run at Rosehill. He battled away strongly at his first start and he has trained on well. He could be the surprise packet.’’
Early Golden Slipper markets at Ladbrokes.com.au have Exceltic marked at $21 with the Magic Millions 2yo Classic winner Sunlight the top pick at $6 just ahead of Team Hawkes trained Estijaab and Performer at $9.