A strong barrier trial from Romanus came as a pleasant surprise to trainer Gary Portelli who is now hoping to start the colt in Saturday’s Rosebud at Rosehill.
Romanus, a $500,000 yearling by Encosta De Lago out of 2002 Victorian Oaks winner Bulla Borghese, has not raced since his fifth to Manhattan Rain in the Group One Sires’ Produce (1400) at Randwick in April.
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The rising three-year-old defeated Nightwatchmen by a long neck in a trial at Rosehill on Tuesday over 900 metres.
“It was sensational, especially when you consider that he is such an average track worker,” Portelli said.
“You can work him with a horse who is struggling to win a maiden and he’ll struggle to beat it on the training track.
“He was supposed to have an easy trial and I told little Tommy Berry to hold him together and don’t let him down because he’s got a long campaign ahead of him.
“The horse ended up dragging Tommy past the post and the best thing was that when we got the horse back to the tie-ups he looked like he’d never had a gallop.
“We might kick him off next weekend in the Rosebud.”
The Rosebud (1200m) will be the springboard to a lofty campaign Portelli has drawn up for Romanus.
The Warwick Farm trainer is hoping to run the colt in the Group One $1 million 2009 Golden Rose (1400m) on August 29 before targeting the Group Three Gloaming Stakes (1800m) in September and then the Group One Spring Champion Stakes (2000m).
The news hasn’t been so good for stablemate Lighthorseman who was ruled out of a recent barrier trial because of a throat infection.
Lighthorseman, a three-year-old Redoute’s Choice colt who fetched $900,000 in the sale ring, underwent a throat operation after his last start fourth at Randwick in March.
“He must have had some feed stuck in the airway or something and they had to treat it with penicillin and he’ll be out for three weeks,” Portelli said.
“The throat operation was a tie back and they can be a bit dodgy but every vet that’s scoped him said the operation was one of the best they’ve seen.
“His airway isn’t compromised at all but it only takes a small bit of feed to get stuck and he can become sick, so he’s always coughing and needs plenty of attention but if we can get him to the track people will see what he can do.”
Lighthorseman has one win from four starts and Portelli is hoping to see him racing in late August or early September.
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