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Lipizzan romps home to defy expectations

Lipizzan has underscored the success of Gary Portelli’s training regime for two-year-olds to kick-start an early double for apprentice Rachel King at Randwick.

Portelli’s young brigade, spearheaded by Golden Slipper winner and The Everest contender She Will Reign, continued to thrive on Saturday when Lipizzan exceeded his expectations.

The filly ($4.80) loomed up outside pre-race favourite Last Starfighter ($3.50) at the 200m and casually pulled clear to claim the Two-Year-Old Plate (1200m) by 2-3/4 lengths.

The Peter and Paul Snowden-trained Star Galaxy ($3.60) was third, three-quarters of a length further back on a heavy 8.

“I had a bad feeling,” Portelli said.

“She hadn’t shown any signs of training off but I thought if she ran a bad race it would be acceptable.”

Instead, she powered to the second win of this preparation.

Portelli was rapt when Lipizzan finished second in the Listed Woodlands Stakes at Scone in May but then wondered if she was capable of reproducing that form and win in lesser company.

“I thought this might be short-lived because she’s so small. She’s tiny, she’s 420kg but she’s got a heart as big as her body,” Portelli said.

“She’s probably not going to improve much physically, that’s the worry.”

Lipizzan is Portelli’s 10th two-year-old winner this season from a batch of 17 and the ratio could improve in coming weeks.

King then backed up her astute ride in the card-opener in the second when she piloted the Jason Coyle-trained favourite Memes ($3) home in the Three-Year-Old Handicap (1200m).

The filly beat Aquatic ($11) by 1-1/2 lengths to claim her fourth win from five starts this campaign.

“She’s getting more and more professional, getting better each time,” King said, who boosted her win tally to 80 across NSW.

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