Speedster Spaceboy will be much more popular with Melburnians than some other recent Sydney visitors if he can break a 12-month winning drought at Flemington.
The Gary Portelli-trained Spaceboy has firmed from $6 into $5 in early betting for the Trevor Clarke Handicap (1000m).
Spaceboy’s last win was on the Kensington track on July 18 last year but the son of Deep Field tackled tougher races last spring and autumn, including the Group 2 Challenge Stakes at his last run in March.
“He was at the end of his campaign that day and I threw him in to have a crack,” Portelli said of Spaceboy’s Challenge Stakes run.
Portelli is confident he has Spaceboy ready to return to winning ways down the Flemington straight.
“I’ll be disappointed if he doesn’t win on Saturday. He’s going that well,” Portelli said.
“I think from what I’ve seen in his trackwork and trial, he’s very close to the mark.
“But over 1000(m) fresh, there’s going to have to be something going well on Saturday to beat him. He’s very, very fast.”
Gary Portelli has the Bletchingly Stakes in mind for Spaceboy. Picture: AAPSource:AAP
Spaceboy ran a close second in extremely wet ground in a Canterbury trial on July 2.
Portelli said the track was too heavy even for a noted wet-tracker like Spaceboy.
But the Soft 6 conditions at Flemington will be perfect.
Portelli has rekindled his Golden Slipper-winning combination with jockey Ben Melham. Portelli and Melham combined to win the 2017 Golden Slipper with She Will Reign.
The Warwick Farm trainer said he would leave riding tactics in Melham’s hands.
“I would love someone to cart him to the furlong (200m),” Portelli said.
“I’m not keen to lead because down the straight, it’s a long down there without cover.
“But I’ll leave it to Ben. If he launches like he can (from the barriers), there might not be anything other to do than steer him.”
Portelli said Saturday’s race was a test for Spaceboy as he had the Group 3 Bletchingly Stakes in mind for the four-year-old should he run well at Flemington.
Originally published asSpaceboy ready for takeoff at Headquarters
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