Fireburn poised for Tramway Stakes 2023 return

Gary Portelli is never quite sure what to expect from Fireburn on race days, but he is certain she will improve on whatever she does first-up in the Tramway Stakes.

The 2022 Golden Slipper winner will make her first appearance since being controversially scratched on order of racing officials two days out from the Queensland Oaks, a race for which she had been a dominant favourite.

Despite her early precocity, the mare’s best recent form has been over longer journeys and Portelli expects that to again be the case this spring.

“She will probably need the run first-up, then we’ll just keep stepping her up in distance if she comes through the run well,” Portelli said.

Fireburn will head to next Saturday’s Tramway Stakes (1400m) at Randwick off just one barrier trial, a fourth behind Spirit Ridge over 1207m.

A notoriously casual trackworker, she has shown some improvement in that area but Portelli says she always saves her best for race day.

“I haven’t done much with her since the trial, she has only been trotting and cantering, but her work leading up to the trial was very good,” he said.

“She knows what race day is about though, she does things on race day we don’t see at home so I’m looking forward to next weekend.

“She looks dour and going to 1400 metres first-up off one trial is the only query, but we’re chasing our tail otherwise.”

Jason Collett partnered Fireburn to her most recent win in the Group 2 The Roses (2000m) at Doomben in May and has been booked to ride her in the Tramway.

The race will be one of five black-type events on next weekend’s program, which will be highlighted by the return of Nature Strip in the Group 3 Concorde Stakes (1000m).

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