Portelli heaps praise on Ronstar after tough debut win

May 21, 2018

Ronstar has a pronounced sway-back and ungainly galloping action — but he also has a fierce determination to win.

At Rosehill Gardens on Saturday, first starter Ronstar was under siege from the turn but he found a win to win the Abercorn Hall of Fame Handicap (1200m).

Gary Portelli, a master trainer of two-year-olds, predicted a bright future for Ronstar.

“I thought he was getting tired at the 200m and they had him cold,’’ Portelli said. “But he does that at trackwork, too. When they come up to him he says ‘no, I have plenty left’.

“He has a massive, effortless stride and he is going to get over further. He is a young horse with potential.’’

Ronstar ($8) held River Bird ($13) at bay to score by a short half head with Canyonero ($7) 1½ lengths away third.

Favourite Press Box ($1.85) appeared to have every chance but failed to run on as expected, labouring home in sixth position, nearly four lengths behind the winner.

Portelli took particular satisfaction from Ronstar’s win as it provided owner Ronnie Burns with a welcome change of luck.

I was having a conversations with Ronnie Burns recently and he was a little bit down on how things weren’t going so well for him with all the horses he has got,’’ Portelli said. “He told me he hasn’t been to Rosehill for 18 months with a runner so I said I’ll try and fix that for him.

“You wouldn’t believe it the next horse I bring to the races on a Saturday wins for him.

“It is great to get this result for Ronnie and the other part-owner, Ron Pulatti as they put a lot of money into the game.’’

Portelli said he will see how Ronstar pulls up from Saturday’s win before deciding whether to keep the gelding in training this season.

“We saw a raw individual today, a horse with natural ability who should get out to further,’’ Portelli said.

“His mother, Miss Essembee, was a handy sprinter and holds a couple of course records around the bush. She has thrown the speed into Ronstar and hopefully his sire, Zoustar, throws the quality.

“It was a big effort to come here and win today as he has never galloped away from Warwick Farm. We put human-like qualities in them sometimes and take it for granted they will turn up on and know where the winning post is.

“So, for him to come to Rosehill today, lead them up, get challenged and fight back to win was a very good effort.’’

Some very good horses over the years have been successful despite having a sway-back — most notably Hall of Famer Tulloch — and it was no impediment to Ronstar on Saturday.

However, winning rider Winona Costin said it caused her some issues in the run.

“He has a big action but when he is racing in a straight line he is good but on the turns he is ‘spider-like’,’’ Costin said. “I have ridden him a lot in his trackwork and barrier trials and he is a nice horse that will get out over further.’’