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The countdown to the Golden Slipper is gaining momentum with little more than eight weeks until the two-year-old showpiece.

Trainer Gary Portelli is pinning his Slipper hopes on Sebring Sun who makes his return to the races at Randwick on Saturday.

Portelli was a little disappointed after the colt’s debut in October when he finished second to Pierette after winning a barrier trial by nine lengths.

Sebring Sun was fractious at the starting gates and didn’t jump with the field but made up ground to get within a half neck of the Gai Waterhouse-trained filly.

Pierrette’s stablemate Flamboyant Lass, who finished third, was an impressive winner on her return earlier this month.

“Hugh Bowman rode him in the trial and is coming out to Warwick Farm to ride him for me on Tuesday morning,” Portelli said.

“He will work with Straturbo so that will give him a good hit-out.

“The colt has tightened up nicely and is fit enough for the 1000 metres on Saturday bearing in mind there is a long preparation ahead.

“He is a genuine two-year-old and it’s like dealing with a three-year-old.

“The Slipper is his aim and there will be no excuses on Saturday.”

There were 10 youngsters entered on Monday for the 2YO Plate including debutant Haptic from the Godolphin stable.

Haptic beat his stablemate, Saturday’s Randwick winner Holler, in a recent barrier trial and is already a $15 chance in the TAB’s Slipper markets.

Holler and Sebring Sun are both at $26.

Portelli will also start in-form sprinter Straturbo at Randwick on Saturday with the five-year-old to run over 1000 metres.

James McDonald, who won the Magic Millions Sprint on Straturbo at the Gold Coast on January 10 retains the ride.

“He has gone up seven ratings points so he is getting a little hard to place,” Portelli said.

“But he is in form and has come through the Gold Coast race well.”

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