Trainer Gary Portelli is confident a horror barrier won’t stop Fireburn from claiming the Group 1 Queensland Oaks at Eagle Farm on Saturday.
Portelli still believes Fireburn is the one to beat in the 2200 metre feature following her brilliant victory in the Group 2 The Roses at Doomben on May 20.
“It put a dampener on my day when she drew 16 but we rode her back when she won The Roses last time, so she’ll just need to do it again,” Portelli said.
“The best horses always win these types of races and she’s proven in this class and can run the distance and in big fields there’s always pressure on.
“I still think she can win the Oaks and the best horses will be there at the 200 metres.”
Portelli has won eight Group 1s in his career and believes Fireburn has the potential to be his best ever galloper.
“If she wins the Oaks, she’ll be the best horse I’ve ever trained,” Portelli said.
“I’ve trained some good ones over the years including her father Rebel Dane who won two Group 1s in an era of some very strong sprinters like Buffering.”
Fireburn was last year’s star two-year-old winning the Group 1 Golden Slipper Stakes and Sires’ Produce Stakes in Sydney.
She was edged out chasing a hat-trick of wins at the highest level by the Anthony Cummings-trained She’s Extreme in the Group 1 Champagne Stakes in Sydney.
Golden Slipper winners rarely train on to win at the highest level but Fireburn went close when Portelli stepped her up in distance as a three-year-old during the autumn carnival in Sydney.
She finished third in the Group 1 Vinery Stud Stakes at Rosehill in March before a brave fourth to New Zealand Oaks winner Pennyweka in the Group 1 Australian Oaks at Randwick last month.
– Racing Queensland