Gary Portell-trained stablemates Time to Reign and Spaceboy have confirmed interstate assignments with sparkling barrier trial wins at Warwick Farm.
Spaceboy won his 1200m-heat on Thursday by 12 lengths to set up a tilt at the $250,000 Magic Millions Maiden (1200m) at the Gold Coast on January 11.
Silver Slipper winner Time To Reign, a half brother to 2017 Golden Slipper winner She Will Reign, also trained by Portelli, won his 804m-trial by 9-1/2 lengths and heads to a Listed race at Flemington seven days later to begin a campaign his trainer hopes can reap a Group One win.
Closer to home, Above And Beyond steps up to 1550 metres in the Bisley Workwear Handicap at Randwick on Saturday with Portelli looking to him to avenge a last-start half-head defeat.
“Apart from not winning we were over the moon with his last start,” Portelli said.
“He is a $40,000 horse who has won more than $180,000 for his owners.
“I bought him at the June Magic Millions sale and only put in one bid. I thought he would go for a lot more.
“He has run second on the Kensington track before so that is no concern and I expect him to go well again.”
Above And Beyond is one of four horses under double figures for Saturday’s Benchmark 78 race.
Portelli was keeping a lid on the trials by Time To Reign and Spaceboy and also his expectations.
“The last time I got excited by Time To Reign winning a trial he spiked a temperature of 40 the next morning and then missed the spring,” he said.
“The plan is to run him in a 1000-metre straight race at Flemington on the 18th with Damien Oliver to ride and then we will look at things after that.
“Obviously we would like to get him a Group One and also to prove he is not just a wet-tracker.
“He and Spaceboy went well but I’m not sure how good the horses behind them were.
“Spaceboy will head to the Magic Millions Maiden.”
Veteran Testashadow will be Portelli’s other runner at the Magic Millions after an eye-catching fifth over 1600m last Saturday, half a length from the winner Something Fast.
‘He will run in the 1800-metre race,” Portelli said.
“This will be his fifth Magic Millions carnival.”
The eight-year-old’s best results are his win in the 2017 Magic Millions Cup and second in the Guineas two years earlier.