‘WILL TO WIN’

Ron­star just won’t hear of de­feat

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - RACING - RAY THOMAS

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.’’

Pic­ture: AAP

Wi­nona Costin had only one ride at Rose­hill for a win on Ron­star.

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