A hit-and-run visit to Melbourne to test the straight track credentials of Extreme Spirit didn’t yield the desired result, but Gary Portelli is hoping the interstate experience will help to settle and season the colt.
With a lack of suitable assignments in Sydney and the July 1 Flemington race suiting the horse’s program perfectly, Portelli figured it would be a good opportunity to see how the rising three-year-old coped with the unique straight style of racing.
Extreme Spirit didn’t get the win in Melbourne, but he was far from disgraced, closing late to finish third to Stellar Olympus.
“I wanted him to have a look at it in case he does come up as we’ve got, in the back of our heads, that he might have a crack at something (at Flemington) during his three-year-old campaign,” Portelli said.
“I was happy with his run, but he did too much in the early stages.
“He got to the line OK, he was beaten less than a length, but I just felt he was too fresh and didn’t settle well enough to win.”
Portelli hopes that run has taken the edge off Extreme Spirit, whose next assignment comes at Rosehill on Saturday in the Racing For Good On July 29 Handicap (1200m).
The youngster has pleased the stable since returning to Sydney and a competitive performance could see him find his way into the early-season lead-up races to the Golden Rose.
“That’s what we’re hoping for,” Portelli said.
“I think he’ll be an autumn three-year-old myself, I believe he’s still immature.
“But I’d like him to have a few runs this time through and if he keeps improving and building and getting a good resume, we might have a crack at something.
“I’ve given him three weeks to get over his first-up run and he gets into Saturday’s race nicely.”
Extreme Spirit is in his second racing campaign after scoring on debut at Kensington in February before pulling up with a virus following his unplaced effort in the Skyline Stakes won by Corniche.
His Rosehill rivals are headed by Godolphin’s Group 3 placegetter Inhibitions and Tulloch Lodge filly Taormina, the latter an impressive debut winner last month who has been earmarked for the early Princess Series races.
– RAS NewsWire