Gary Portelli has to run leading Golden Slipper contender Secret Lady in the final fillies lead-in at Rosehill after she lost ground in the order of entry.
Portelli figured Secret Lady, his leading juvenile hope to emulate stablemate She Will Reign’s Golden Slipper win last year, would already be in the field before Saturday’s final chance to qualify at Rosehill.
The filly looked well placed for a start until she was overtaken in the prize money qualifying list at Randwick last weekend and left at 18th on the order of entry for the field of 16.
Portelli has no option but to start Secret Lady in the Group Two Magic Night Stakes (1200m).
“I thought we were in and next minute everyone’s leapfrogged us,” Portelli said.
“We’re in a situation where I wasn’t going to race her, now I’m going to have to and she’ll have to win or finish second.”
Sunlight’s presence suggests winning is going to be difficult for Secret Lady given the Tony McEvoy-trained filly opened the $1.50 favourite on Wednesday.
None of her rivals are in single figures, with the Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott-trained Setsuna the $13 second elect. Secret Lady was at $18 on the fifth line of betting.
“It’s a big ask but if any horse in the stable is going to do it, it’ll be her,” Portelli said.
Secret Lady races for the first time since she was third in the Group Three Widden Stakes (1100m) in early February where she was parked four wide before placing seventh.
Portelli said barrier two was a great improvement on the wide gate she had in the Widden Stakes, and would give her a chance to make an impression against Sunlight.
“She’s got a lovely barrier. We’ll get a chance to take a sit because it looks like they’ll go quick and we’ll see if she can accelerate on the back of a good speed,” he said.