Jason Portelli trains only two dogs out of his Keilor Park backyard and they’ll do battle in Saturday night’s Shepparton To The Meadows final (525m) at The Meadows.
Portelli is hoping it will be a case of ‘easy’ does it when That’s Easy and Nice And Easy gang up on $1.60 TAB favourite Run And Carry in Race 5 at 7.58pm.
That’s Easy (Box 1) is the more fancied of Portelli’s pair at $4.80; however, the 29-year-old owner/trainer has a leaning towards Nice And Easy (Box 7) at $9.
“Unfortunately, they’re drawn inside out,” Portelli said.
“Nice And Easy wants to be close to the rail but she’s had 28 starts and we’re still waiting for her to draw box one.
“She’s quick early and has a quick second section but she’s not super strong, although she surprised me when she ran 30.12sec at The Meadows a few weeks ago.
“She should improve from her heat run because she was first-up after three and a half weeks off.”
Nice And Easy, the winner of seven races from 28 starts, ran second to Matt Lanigan’s G1 Hobart Thousand finalist Run And Carry in the fastest heat performance (25.12sec, Best), while That’s Easy claimed his fifth victory at start 20 with a 25.50sec qualifying effort.
“I thought That’s Easy would run top three in his heat and make the final but he exceeded my expectations,” Portelli said.
“He was very promising as a pup and hopefully he might be starting to put it all together now.
“I’ve only had him back with me for three starts and he’s had two wins and a third so I’m really happy with how he’s going.
“Run And Carry will be very hard to beat but he’s drawn the ‘blue’ and I’ve got one on the outside and one on the inside and they can both feature. It’s going to be an exciting race.”
A painter by trade, Portelli has held a trainer’s license for a decade, preparing his first winner Betsie at Shepparton back in 2011, and he’s now enjoying the fruits of a spending spree to upgrade his racing stock with the purchase of four pups.
The investment has paid off, with the quartet now racing successfully as Nice And Easy and Yeah Easy (both Fernando Bale x Only Want Mum), That’s Easy (Fernando Bale x Shanakee) and Another Easy (Fabregas x Cosmic Tilly).
“I’d had dogs that weren’t very good and weren’t very well-bred but about one and a half years ago we bought these four pups for $30,000,” Portelli explained.
“They cost a bit of money and they’ve cost us a bit of money to get to where they are now but between the four of them they’ve had about 90 starts for 25 wins.
“Yeah Easy, which is trained by Rod Clark, is the best one we’ve got at the moment. He’s won his last two at Horsham and ran 27.03sec at his last start. The other dog we have, Another Easy, is with Chris Darmanin and won two in a row at Sandown late last year.
“We’re waiting for Nice And Easy to come on season and we’ll breed with her and get the ‘Easy’ line started!
“I train out of my backyard. I use the facilities at The Meadows and do a lot of street-walking. I’m still fairly new to it and I’m very lucky to have John Barbara help me out with keeping the dogs sound.
“I just love the sport and the dogs are really like pets to us.”
WATCH: That’s Easy (8) makes it look easy in a Shepparton To The Meadows heat on March 22.
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