Sebring Sun beat a strong field to take out The Rosebud, but trainer Gary Portelli is confident that the talented colt can take another step-up in the 2015 Up And Coming Stakes at Royal Randwick on Saturday.
Sebring Sun failed to deliver on his potential as a two-year-old, but he started his 2015 Spring Racing Carnival campaign with a maiden race win in the Tab.Com.Au Maiden Handicap (1200m) at Canterbury on July 29 before he scored a very professional victory in the Listed The Rosebud (1200m) at Royal Randwick on August 8.
Portelli told Sky Racing HQ that Sebring Sun had trained on strongly coming out of The Rosebud and he is hopeful that the Sebring colt can stamp himself as a leading contender for the Group 1 Golden Rose Stakes (1400m) by taking out the Group 3 Up And Coming Stakes (1300m) this weekend.
“He certainly hasn’t gone backwards and if anything he may have tightened up a bit,” Portelli said.
“He has got to improve again, he goes up to 1300 metres and it is going to be a nice little test again for him this weekend to make sure he runs that out and if he does obviously we will take the big step and have a crack at the Group 1 with him.
“We have always though that he was a pretty good colt, but sometimes they can come up a bit short and at this stage he is going in the right direction.
“I wasn’t able to do much with him last time because he raced on the Wednesday at Canterbury and he raced about ten days later, so he only had the one gallop between runs.
“This time he has a fortnight and we have just given him the routine work and a bit of three quarters over 1000.”
Avdulla steered Sebring Sun to victory in The Rosebud, but Hugh Bowman has been booked to take the ride on the three-year-old in the Up And Coming Stakes.
Bowman was originally set to ride Pride Of Dubai in the Golden Rose, but the injury suffered to the Blue Diamond Stakes winner means that the leading hoop is now available for the Group 1 event and Portelli wants Sebring Sun to convince the premiership winner to stick with him in the $1 million event.
“Hughie was booked for the preparation and he had that weekend off,” Portelli said.
“Week to week jockeys chop and change and they obviously have bigger stables to look after sometimes.
“I’m not sure what Hughie is riding in the big one, but I hope that my bloke is impressive enough to warrant him sticking with it in the Golden Rose, but obviously we need to get through this weekend first.”
Sebring Sun is currently available at 2015 Golden Rose Stakes odds of $21 with Ladbrokes, while Vancouver ($3) remains a clear favourite from Japonisme ($6), Press Statement ($10) and Exosphere ($11).