By Ray Hickson
Trainer Gary Portelli is convinced luck will decide whether She Will Reign’s Everest campaign gets off to a winning start.
The Golden Slipper winner is the only three-year-old in the Group 1 Moir Stakes (1000m) at Moonee Valley on Friday night and it’s shaping as a baptism of fire at the top level.
Portelli said he’s been over the moon with how She Will Reign has progressed towards her return but is a little anxious about the capacity field of 13 around the tight circuit.
“It’s a lot bigger field than I anticipated and for me that’s the scary part,’’ Portelli said.
“Traffic around the Valley is the biggest worry. If you get stuck behind horses and can’t get out at a vital time coming around the corner you’re in trouble.
“If she gets into trouble can she get herself out of it? She’s still learning the trade but I’m confident if she has every chance in running she’s going to be hard to beat.
“We’ve had a faultless prep and we’ll know on Friday night whether we’ve done the right thing.’’
While a three-year-old, Extreme Choice, won the race last year it’s been 12 years since the last filly, Virage de Fortune, was successful.
She Will Reign is the last of the confirmed TAB Everest runners to make their spring return and Portelli has been very deliberate about giving her a gradual build up.
As an $8 chance in the $10 million feature at Randwick on October 14, Portelli knows a lot is riding on her first-up run and concedes he’s asking a lot.
“She’s been playing under 18s, and been the best at it, and now she’s going straight to first grade,’’ he said.
“She’s not even taking on under 21s but she’ll learn something from it as well.’’
Moir favourite Russian Revolution, who downed Houtzen in the McEwen Stakes earlier this month, is the yardstick according to Portelli but he’s pleased She Will Reign will start a few barriers inside him.
Of course Russian Revolution is also on the radar of the remaining slot holders in the TAB Everest.
“I reckon they’d be concerned about where he gets to from that gate, especially if they kick up underneath he could have a tough run,’’ he said.
“I’m glad she drew where she did and not where he did but he’s definitely the horse to beat.’’
Kerrin McEvoy rides She Will Reign on Friday night but he’s committed to Redzel in the Everest so Portelli is still without a jockey to ride her at 51kg.
He’s hoping the phone is ringing hot after the filly’s resumption.
‘’There’s a bit of jockeying going on for a few horses that haven’t got slots and a few riders are waiting to see what we do on Friday night,’’ Portelli said.
“We’ll have a clearer picture after this weekend.’’