‘WILL TO WIN’
Ronstar just won’t hear of defeat
RONSTAR keeps finding a way to win — but only just.
The Gary Portelli-trained Ronstar kept his perfect record intact with a fighting effort to take out the Spring Carnival On Sale Monday Handicap (1200m) at Rosehill Gardens yesterday.
Portelli has come to admire Ronstar’s will-to-win which has been a signature of his two Rosehill wins.
“This horse is a trier and what we saw today is what we see every morning at trackwork,’’ he said. “They go up to him but he just will not let them go past.
“It’s like he says ‘is that the best you can do’ and he lifts and pulls away again.
“Today, I thought the third horse (Irish Bet) had him at the top of the straight but he fought it off.
“Then I saw Diplomatico come with a late run but he held on.
“I don’t know if he sees them or what but he keeps getting the job done.’’
Ronstar ($5) settled outside the leader Countercurrent until the turn before forging to the front and defying his challengers to score by a half-head from the fast-finishing Diplomatico ($5) with Irish Bet ($6) a half-head away third.
Favourite Galina ($3.70) was held up for a run at the top of the straight but still looked to have her chance, finishing fourth and only three-quarters of a length behind the winner.
Winona Costin only had one ride at the meeting and made it count with Ronstar.
“When he won here last start, he was headed in the straight and fought back but today he kept his nose in front,’’ Costin said.
“He knew what he was there for today; he just wants to be a racehorse.’’
Portelli considers Ronstar could develop into a Golden Rose contender in the spring but is unsure of immediate plans for the youngster.
“There is a 1400m race in a couple of weeks that I would like to run him in if he comes through this race well,’’ the trainer said.
“John Hawkes taught me when a horse is in form sometimes you are better off to win what is in front of you rather than worry about what is down the track.
“I am actually looking forward to seeing what he can do at 1400m. I think the extra distance will suit him.
“He just floated along today, he has a massive, economical stride and it looks like he is going steady but the horses behind him are doing two strides to his one.
“When he gets to 1400m, he will be able to go through his gears. I’d like to lead on him and start building from the 600m ... you will see a nice horse as that will take the sprint out of the horses following him.’’
Portelli said Ronstar has always shown ability but was plagued by shin soreness early in the season.
Ronstar, a son of Zoustar who won the 2013 Golden Rose, also has a pronounced swayback which probably dissuaded Hong Kong interests from going ahead with their offer to buy the youngster.
“The owners were offered a lot of money after he won here at his debut but they kept him so hopefully he can keep winning for them,’’ Portelli said.
“I don’t want to lose Ronstar either because I think he is a very promising horse.
“His swayback might have put the Hong Kong buyers off a bit.
“This horse is 16.2 hands but he goes down to 14 hands at the bottom of his wither (because of the swayback).
“There is not much in between, there is not a lot of barrel there. He is a funny shape, he’s all hindquarters and shoulders but he has a fierce will-to-win and you can’t train that into them.’’
Diplomatico, a $1.7 million yearling colt, took a while to wind up in the straight but when he let down he finished powerfully to just miss in a promising debut.
“He was there to win at the 100m but he wasn’t sure how to go on with it,’’ jockey Brenton Avdulla said. “He will take plenty of improvement from the run.’’
Winona Costin had only one ride at Rosehill for a win on Ronstar.