If Gary Portelli’s assessment of Sebring Express is right, the filly will be a lot closer to her stablemate She Will Reign in Golden Slipper betting after she runs in the Widden Stakes.
She Will Reign is the $8 second favourite for the Slipper in March while Sebring Express is at $101 ahead of Saturday’s Group Three sprint for fillies at Rosehill.
Sebring Express finished fifth in the Inglis Nursery, 5-1/4 lengths behind She Will Reign and while Portelli believes the winner is in a class of her own, he can find reasons why her stablemate should have been closer in that race.
“She should have run second to She Will Reign,” Portelli said.
“She got back at the start. If she had jumped better she would have been up closer.
“She Will Reign is in a league of her own but I think Sebring Express will be competitive in this field tomorrow especially if there is good pace on.
“She has race experience on her side and she is a filly I like a lot.
“Whether she is a Slipper horse remains to be seen but if she performs well over the 1100 metres, I certainly won’t deny her owners the chance to have a runner.”
The winner of a Wyong maiden over 1000 metres on December 7, Sebring Express has had a barrier trial since the Inglis Nursery on December 17.
She is on the second line of betting for the Widden at $7 with Teaspoon and Divine Messenger sharing top billing at $6.
Deanne Panya, who combined with Portelli and Testashadow to take out the $1 million Magic Millions Cup on January 14, retains the ride on Sebring Express.
A field of 13 has been declared for the Widden with just six acceptors in the colts and geldings division, the Canonbury Stakes.
The Gerald Ryan-trained Menari is the $1.90 favourite on the back of a winning debut at Randwick last Saturday week.
There is also a field of six for the Expressway Stakes (1200m) for the older sprinters with Group One winner Music Magnate dominating the market at $1.85.