By Brad Gray
A change of plan will see She Will Reign launch her autumn campaign in the $250,000 Inglis Sprint (1100m) at Warwick Farm on February 10.
Trainer Gary Portelli originally had the Rubiton Stakes, run on the same day at Caulfield, pencilled in as the first up target for the Golden Slipper winner but the set weight conditions of the Inglis feature, which coincides with the opening night of selling at Inglis’ Riverside Stables, is too tempting a carrot to ignore.
Slight change of plan for SWR. She will now resume on the 10th of Feb at Warwick Farm in the $250k @inglis_sales 3yo sprint over 1100m . 54kg has her well placed. Oakleigh plt 2weeks later. @Darby_Racing
— Gary Portelli (@GaryPortelli) January 3, 2018
“In the back of my mind I thought the race was a handicap so I hadn’t given it much thought. I just happened to be thinking about it yesterday and asked (Racing Manager) Loren (Wadsworth) to have a look at what the conditions are,” Portelli explained.
“She is going to get 54kg, it’s worth more money than the Rubiton and we don’t have to stress her out by going down the Highway, it’s just walk across the road instead. That’ll have her spot on second up for the Oakleigh Plate.
“It’s a no brainer. We don’t need to take on the older horses, we take on three-year-olds restricted to a sale with a home track advantage. With 54kg on her back she is almost a handicapping certainty.”
Melbourne-based jockey Ben Melham will maintain his association with She Will Reign who is set to trial at Warwick Farm on the 15th of January and then at Randwick on the 29th.
“I could race her this week that’s where we are at. We are treading water at the moment trying to keep her happy because she wants to gallop. She has just been doing pace work,” Portelli revealed of the $20,000 yearling.
“She wants the colours on sooner rather than later so the 10th can’t come around fast enough for her.
“She is a different horse. She looks mature now with different muscle tone. It’s hard to describe but she looks like an older horse whereas before she still looked a bit ‘foaly’.”
All going to plan, come April, the daughter of Manhattan Rain will be lining up in the $2.5m Darley TJ Smith Stakes (1200m) on Day 1 of The Championships.
Meanwhile, Portelli, although buoyed by the subsequent form out of the Gimcrack Stakes, is cautious about the return of Now Or Never over 1100m at Canterbury on Friday night.
Now Or Never's Gimcrack fourth
“She is probably not sharp enough for the sprints but hopefully she runs well on for us because I’ve got big things for her down the track,” Portelli said.
“We’ve always thought she’d be more a 1400m 1600m horse and now that she is into her second preparation she is already starting to show that.”
Now Or Never, whose immediate aim is the $250,000 Inglis Classic, which Portelli won last year with She Will Reign, will be joined in the race by debutant Peduzzi.
“She is a very sharp filly and has trialled well. She is back from a spell and has really pleased us at home,” said Portelli.
Portelli gave punters a leg up for Moccasin Miss who he expects to be powering to the line again having successfully changed the mare’s pattern at Muswellbrook last start.
“That’s the way to ride her and hopefully they put the speed on again on Friday night. If they do that again she’ll be finishing off very strongly. She ran faster time at Muswellbrook than the open sprint,” he said.
“We went up to Muswellbrook pretty confident she could win so it was a huge result for our owners who has a crack at her at big odds. It made the trip home very easy.”