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Queensland Guineas to determine Kintyre's winter path

Thu 2 May 2024


By Glenn Davis

Multiple Group 1-winning trainer Gary Portelli hopes to know more about the winter pathway for promising three-year-old Kintyre after his assignment in the Group 2 Queensland Guineas at Eagle Farm on Saturday.

Portelli is unsure whether Kintyre has the stamina to be a serious contender for next month’s Queensland Derby and will delay making a Derby decision until after the Group 3 Rough Habit Plate over 2000 metres at Doomben on May 18.

“I’m not sure if he’ll run 2400 metres and I doubt he’s really a mile and a half horse,” Portelli said.

“He’ll head to the Rough Habit Plate after the Queensland Guineas and if he runs well there we’ll make a decision then about the Queensland Derby.”

The Group 1 Queensland Derby will be run at Eagle Farm on June 1.

Kintyre won a high drama Group 3 Packer Plate in the steward’s room at Randwick on April 20, ending a string of three placings from his first four starts this campaign.

“He was tightened for room and put into the fence which buckled and was scrapping paint for 50 metres when he ran out of room,” the Sydney trainer said.

“He pulled up enormous after the run and I’ve got no qualms about him going into the Guineas.”

Portelli has declared the Michael Freedman-trained Ducasse as the main threat to Kintyre notching his fourth win in 21 starts.

“Ducasse beat him when we ran third two starts back in the (Group 3) Carbine Stakes and is the obvious danger,” Portelli said.

“But, Ducasse drew the inside gate that day and got a run along the rails while we drew wide and had to come around five horses.

“I’m certainly not scared of any horse in the race.”

One thing Portelli is certain about is the Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap won’t be on Kintyre’s winter program if the Queensland Derby is ruled out.

Portelli has booked apprentice Cejay Graham to partner Kintyre ending a long search for a suitable replacement for last start rider Jamie Kah.

“We rang a few riders but unfortunately the Queensland Guineas meeting clashes with Adelaide and the stand alone meeting at Hawkesbury,” Portelli said.

“Jamie Kah rode him in the Packer Plate but she’s riding in Adelaide.”

Kintyre is a half-brother to Portelli’s 2022 Golden Slipper winner Fireburn, who won more than $4.2 million in prize money with six wins in 20 starts.

Fireburn campaigned in Brisbane last winter, winning the Group 2 The Roses.