Gary Portelli’s search for a second Golden Slipper winner will be put to the test when Secret Lady makes her debut at Rosehill.
The filly is the Sydney trainer’s latest contender to emerge as a potential successor to She Will Reign who won the $3.5 million 1200m-sprint for two-year-olds in March.
Portelli bought Secret Lady for $150,000 in partnership with Aquis Farm at the Magic Millions yearling sale in Western Australia, the first time they had done business.
“It was a situation where I probably couldn’t afford the horse on my own but they were there,” Portelli said.
Secret Lady follows Cortesta, Zerchois, I Stole Your Love and Now Or Never to the races after they had their first starts in the Listed Gimcrack Stakes in September.
She begins her career in an 1100m-handicap on Saturday as one of seven unraced contenders in the field of eight.
“Of course like everyone at the moment we’re dreaming of our next Slipper horse. Until tomorrow she’s the one that we’re dreaming about,” Portelli said.
Despite She Will Reign’s success Portelli said he felt no added pressure to produce another Slipper winner.
“I’ve had a few Slipper runners in the past and I know how hard it is to get one qualified,” Portelli said.
“I’m not sure where we’re at with this filly, but we didn’t know what sort of horse She Will Reign was either until her first start at Kembla Grange.”
Portelli said the initial goal was to qualify Secret Lady for the Magic Millions 2YO Classic at the Gold Coast in January, and then focus on the Slipper at Rosehill on March 24.
Secret Lady has won both her barrier trials and Portelli is also encouraged by a pedigree that features Perth mare For Your Eyes Only.
A four-time winner as a two-year-old, For Your Eyes Only won the Gimcrack Stakes at Ascot at her second start and retired with 10 wins and $582,000 prize money.
“The mother was pretty quick and it looks like this girl has the same sort of speed. She’ll jump and run,” Portelli said.
Secret Lady was the $3.30 second elect with the TAB on Friday behind the Peter and Paul Snowden trained Sangita ($2.80), who ran third in in her first start at Canterbury last month.