By Ray Hickson
Trainer Gary Portelli is taking an open mind into She Will Reign’s four-year-old season to accommodate the changes the star filly has been going through in the last 12 months.
The 2017 Golden Slipper winner has had a mixed season with two wins, both first-up, including a Group 1 from her six starts and he’s put that down to how physical differences compared to her two-year-old year are changing her racing style.
She Will Reign was the star of the show at Portelli Racing’s open day on Sunday and he pointed out exactly what’s different three weeks into her spring preparation.
“She’s changed shape again. She’s a longer, leaner and taller looking horse than before,’’ Portelli said.
“She’s longer through the barrel, leaner through the flank and has a different type of muscle tone.
“The way she races she’s lost that crazy speed she had as a young horse.’’
— Kiersten Duke (@misskduke) June 10, 2018
Portelli has the Group 2 Missile Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on August 4 inked in for She Will Reign’s first-up run and it’ll be a race where there’ll be no hiding with the likes of Kementari and Pierata already confirmed to resume in the $200,000 sprint.
That race will tell Portelli whether She Will Reign could be worthy of a second shot at The Everest, having finished 11th with excuses in the inaugural running, or if races at seven furlongs or further come into consideration.
“She’s a good horse first-up and we’ll have her ready for (the Missile) and whether we go to the Winx (ex Warwick) over 1400m in a fortnight or stick to keeping her fresh we’re not sure,’’ he said.
“She’s at a level where you can’t dodge them, usually the Missile is the weakest one because no-one’s ready.
“If she was to win it then no doubt we’ll be getting a knock on the door (for The Everest). I think everyone is in the same boat, they’ve got to fire first-up.’’
It’s not the first time Portelli has noted differences in the filly’s make up.
Prior to her last run this season, when fifth to Catchy in the Group 2 Arrowfield Sprint (1200m), he commented publicly that he felt she was morphing into a more conservative racehorse.
“It’s been something in the back of my mind for a while now, she looks a horse that should get further and that was the way she was racing,’’ he said.
“She’s telling us ‘I don’t want to be pushed along early, I want to travel and get into the race when I want to’.
She Will Reign winning the Inglis Sprint at Warwick Farm in February
“Before if you gave her a squeeze she could find five lengths in a split second. Her action has changed and we have to work with it.
“If a horse’s shape changes you have to think something else has to change. We have to listen to her, I’m hoping she’s telling us she wants further and not that she’s slowed down.’’
Meanwhile, stablemate Single Bullet has also gone through some changes since he last raced undergoing a gelding operation during his break.
With one win from 13 starts, Single Bullet didn’t live up to the hopes held for him as a colt and Portelli wants to get the confidence back into him by not aiming too high when he resumes.
Given he’s a week ahead of She Will Reign that could be just prior to the end of the season.
“He’s only an 80 benchmark horse so I can place him but if he lives up to his second to Viridine he’s going to be amongst them in the spring,’’ Portelli said.
“Now he’s a gelding, he’s still a BOBS horse and we’ll try to win some prizemoney with him.’’