Portelli banks on blinkers for Royalzel

Two-year-old Royalzel made a big leap from his debut to win second-up and Gary Portelli hopes a gear change can turn him into a city winner.

Royalzel is set to start second favourite behind Cape Breton in the opening two-year-old race at Rosehill and Gary Portelli is banking on a gear change to turn him into a city force.

The Snitzel colt improved from an eighth placing on debut at Wyong to a Kembla Grange winner at his second start when he just got better as the 1300m event went on.

“He got lost at the 1100m (on debut) and Tommy Berry got off and said ‘step this straight up, it needs further and I want to ride it’,” Portelli said.

“We did that and it worked out nicely against a small field on a wet track and it was a beautiful ride from Tommy. The only worry for me is he’s hopping off now to ride for (Chris) Waller.”

Berry rides Cape Breton and Portelli is hoping he regrets that decision as his youngster can come home over the top of him late.

Kathy O’Hara takes over from Berry on Royalzel but she’s ridden him in two trials.

“He’ll run 1300m on his ear. I wouldn’t have been scared to have jumped up even further,” Portelli said.

“He’s got a good finish on him so she just needs to make sure she gets him to the outside and to a better part of the track.

“He only goes when you asked him to go and that’s a good sign for young horses.”

Portelli is trying to get Royalzel a bit more focused in the run so he doesn’t have to make up so much ground late like he did last start because that’s obviously tougher to do in town, particularly at Rosehill.

“I’ve got the blinkers on now which might have him a little sharper out of the gates because he’s been wanting to settle a bit too much,” Portelli said.

“The blinkers might have him wanting to come out and settle a bit closer, especially now that Volcanic Rock has come out.

“It doesn’t look like it’s void of speed but there’s a little less than we first thought. With the blinkers on I’m, not sure where we’ll end up in the run but he worked lovely and sharp on Tuesday morning.”

Royalzel will jump out of barrier seven.

“I just want him where he’s comfortable and into a nice rhythm and not too keen with the blinkers on,” Portelli said.

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