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Delago Bolt Targets 2009 Caulfield Guineas

The likely strength of the 2009 Golden Rose field has swayed Gary Portelli to target the Up And Coming Stakes with Caulfield Guineas 2009 hopeful Delago Bolt.

The winner of the Black Opal Stakes in Canberra, Delago Bolt tuned up for his return in Saturday week’s Group Three sprint with a comfortable barrier trial win at Hawkesbury on Monday.

He will kick off his campaign in the Up And Coming (1200m) which is run one week before the $1 million Golden Rose.

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“We rode him behind the speed in the trial and while I don’t think there was much in it, when he was asked for a bit of an effort he put five lengths on them,” Portelli said.

“It works out perfectly, he’ll now have two weeks into the Up And Coming and he’ll be in good order for it.

“With the Golden Rose a week later, the Up And Coming might not be that strong a race.

“There will be horses there like Shellscrape who will be hard to beat, but if he’s going to be competitive in a race like the Caulfield Guineas he would need to be winning that.”

Delago Bolt was unplaced at his only two starts in Group One company as a two-year-old.

He finished ninth to Phelan Ready in the Golden Slipper after missing the start and having a chequered passage then was sixth to Manhattan Rain over 1400m in the Sires’ Produce Stakes.

Portelli still has question marks over whether the colt will handle middle distances and hopes his upcoming campaign will provide the answer.

“He will go to the Danehill Stakes and then the Guineas Prelude and that will tell us if he’s ready to run a mile (1600m) or if we stick to sprints,” Portelli said.

Stablemate and 2009 Caulfield Cup and 2009 Melbourne Cup nominee Absent Friends was fourth in his trial at Hawkesbury on Monday and impressed Portelli with the way he hit the line.

Portelli has long believed the five-year-old could win at black-type level and hopes this spring could be his time.

“He’s definitely a Group horse on a dry surface,” Portelli said.

“We’ll take it one step at a time, he’s a bit of a delicate flower.

“It’s a case of working with the horse, not working with the program.”

Also in action at Monday’s trials was unraced three-year-old Hood who won his 1000m heat.

The Shamardal gelding is a half-brother to multiple Group One winner Tie The Knot and like his famous sibling is in the hands of Warwick Farm trainer Guy Walter.

Article by Mandy Cottell Aapracing

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