Nowra, Scone preview: Trainer Scott Singleton poised to make impression

Just six days out from the world’s richest two-year-old, there are plenty of Golden Slipper omens for punters to follow in the nation’s horse capital and local trainer Scott Singleton has three of the best of them.

None of Singleton’s trio have more of a connection to the Golden Slipper than Holy Empress who lines-up in the TAB Exclusive On Track Offers Handicap (1600m).

Holy Empress was bred by Bart Cummings who won the Slipper on four occasions.

On top of that, Holy Empress is from the same family as Neville Begg’s 1980 Golden Slipper winning filly, Dark Eclipse.

Singleton’s mare boasts a compelling record at the ‘Scone Mile’, namely two wins and three placings from five attempts.

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Holy Empress was her usual barnstorming self when coming from last of the 14 runners and clocking in a diminishing three-lengths from the winner at her most recent appearance at Hawkesbury nine-days ago.

“She just got too far back and she didn’t have anything to bring her into the race and it was too late by the time she got out but she made good ground,’’ Singleton said.

It was a similar story the start before when Holy Empress finished a length and a half behind Joliette at Canterbury

“Jay Ford rode her that day and said she just can’t make any ground around a corner. She has got to wait until she gets in a straight line.

“Scone is definitely a better track for her and she’s got a great record there at home.’’

Another of Singleton’s ‘Slipper descendants’ in action at Scone on Monday is Pink Patina.

Her third dam, Belle Tetue, was an outstanding two-year-old for trainer Betty Lane and finished fourth to Sir Dapper, Been There and Love A Show in the 1983 Slipper.

Pink Patina came to Singleton with a record of ‘0 from 7’ but won her first two for the Scone handler in October prior to a spell.

The grey daughter of Argentinian Group 1 winner, former Riverina based stallion and now SA resident, Alert, sent out some very encouraging signs with her first-up run at Scone on February 16.

“I thought she ran alright actually. She got back and worked home OK and she’s come on a lot since,’’ Singleton reported.

“There is plenty of her and that run tightened her up a little bit. She’ll be competitive enough without being over confident.’’

Singleton’s first starter Miandelle meanwhile has her own connection to the Golden Slipper being by Smart Missile who was sensationally withdrawn at the barrier moments before Sepoy’s win a decade ago.

Miandelle looked the part winning a 1000m trial at Muswellbrook on March 3.

“She is ready to be at the races,’’ Singleton says. “She wants further and will drift back but I quite like this filly, I think she will get over a mile and further eventually but we have always been happy with her at home.

“She’ll get back on and run on,’’ said Singleton.

Gary Portelli says his two runners at Nowra looked well placed.Source:Getty Images


Golden Slipper-winning trainer Gary Portelli is closing in on 1000 wins and will get there in quick time if he keeps his current strike-rate up.

She Will Reign’s trainer counts four winners from his last six starters and if things go to plan at Nowra on Monday, he will add another two to the tally and one more at Hawkesbury on Tuesday.

One of Portelli’s most beloved out of his almost 1000 winners is Testashadow who recently retired after a long and illustrious career.

The horse himself may be off to greener pastures, but his racing silks remain very much a fixture at Portelli’s Warwick Farm headquarters.

In fact, they will twice be on show at Nowra on Monday thanks to the presence of Elite Thoroughbred pair, Liberty Fields and Sea Stitch.

The duo shared a float to Bathurst last month with each returning to Sydney with a ‘silver medal’ in their respective contests.

Portelli’s pair won’t have as far to go this time thanks to two perfect races for each at Nowra.

“They are both good winning chances particularly not that the rain has come for Liberty Fields in the mile race,’’ Portelli said.

“I think she’s been looking for a softer track and she gets that, She has been knocking the door down so this is her chance for sure.’’

Liberty Fields has loomed up to win twice in the space of her consecutive visits to Bathurst but has been unable to convert, albeit, going down by the narrowest of margins each time.

“Kathy (O’Hara) said both times that it was the track that pulled her up, because she was going to win but she could just feel her coming back on her and not stretching out on the hard tracks so she gets the opposite (Monday) to what she has been racing on,’’ said Portelli.

Sea Stitch, the son of 2008 Golden Slipper winner Sebring and 2013 Merson Cooper runner-up All Sewn Up, surely won’t be a maiden for much longer and could break through at Nowra on Monday.

“Being a Sebring you would think he would love the wet but the only time I have had him on a really wet track, he went average, but he was first-up and we’ve seen a horse that has really been strong on his last couple of runs.’’

Originally published asNowra, Scone preview: Why Singo expects to be in full song

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