Strome unlikely starter in G2 Villiers

By: Caryl Williamson Monday 9 December 2019

Talented mare Strome's step up to stakes grade is likely to be delayed with trainer Gary Portelli going cold on the idea of backing her up in the Villiers.

Portelli flagged the idea of running her in Saturday's Group Two Villiers Stakes (1600m) seven days after her eye-catching second in a benchmark race at Rosehill.

She is among 17 entries taken on Monday for the Villiers and is also nominated for a benchmark race over the same distance.

Portelli has been inspecting yearlings and will make a final decision after Strome works on Tuesday.

"She may not run at all," Portelli said.

"She will be on the limit in the Villiers and we haven't been able to find a jockey.

"I don't want to put her in a race like that and have her carry more weight than what she should.

"I'll have a good look at her in the morning but there is a suitable race for her in three weeks so we might wait until then."

Portelli has entered Already Blessed and dismissal in the Inglis Nursery (1000m) for two-year-olds.

"The colt (Already Blessed) was quite impressive winning his barrier trial," he said.

"Rachel King rode him and will ride him in the race.

"The filly (Dismissal) is out of a mare I trained called Lot Three Four One and also trialled well but we don't have a rider yet."

The trainer is hoping for better luck with the two juveniles after Avno Doubt suffered career-threatening injuries in a race in Brisbane last Saturday week as she was being prepared for the Magic Millions.

"She has injured both sesamoids and we may not get her back to the races," Portelli said.

The Listed Rqazor Sharp (1200m) and Listed Christmas Cup (2400m) received 14 and 11 entries respectively.

The Mark Newnham-trained Quackerjack opened the $5 favourite for the Villiers on Monday and was soon into $4.50 with El Dorado Dreaming and Ranier next at $7.

Quackerjack won the recent Goulburn Cup before running a close second to Mister Sea Wolf in the $1 million The Gong.