Luck and tempo will dictate the chances of Gary Portelli coming away with a Group Three win in the Up And Coming Stakes after both his runners landed wide draws.
Last start winner Kintyre came up with barrier 11 of 12, while Encap fared marginally better with gate nine.
Portelli says it has forced his hand to ride both three-year-olds conservatively, meaning the pair will need a genuinely run race and a fortuitous passage if they are to feature.
“Both will run. It’s part of their preparation so they have to race, it’s just disappointing,” Portelli said.
“We’re really going to need a truly run race and for the track to ride right.”
Encap will be striving to become the fourth maiden to capture the Up And Coming Stakes (1300m) in the past two decades alongside Fastnet Rock (2004), Dreamscape (2008) and War (2013).
The gelding has put the writing on the wall at his two recent runs, flashing home for consecutive seconds in strong midweek races, and Portelli says the horse’s work has continued to improve the deeper he’s gone into his campaign.
Brett Prebble has the race ride on Saturday after venturing to Warwick Farm to test Encap in a trackwork gallop midweek.
“He (Prebble) was quite surprised by how sharp the horse was in his work, how keen he was and how strong he was because watching his races, he looks quite laidback,” Portelli said.
“His sectionals have been unbelievable at the back end of both runs from a spell.
“I’d have to say that based on what I saw in Tuesday morning’s work, he’s in peak condition. I’m just disappointed he couldn’t have drawn a better gate.”
Fireburn’s half-brother Kintyre earned a shot at Saturday’s race with a second-up win over the same course and distance at Rosehill.
Like his older sibling, he is difficult to get a read on in trackwork, but Portelli feels he will be at his best once he gets over longer journeys.
“I’m going to be getting him out to a stayer’s distance, so the good thing about this weekend is there’s no pressure on him,” Portelli said.
“We’ll just ride him quietly, get him to relax, settle, get into a rhythm and then hopefully he will have some petrol in the run home and we’ll see him striking out right to the line doing his best work.
“He’s a pretty laidback customer, a bit like his sister, he doesn’t go out there demanding much respect at trackwork but he turns up on race day.”
– RAS NewsWire