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She Will Reign Does Exactly That In Slipper

By Brad Gray

She Will Reign winning the Golden Slipper, on the back of a magnificent ride from Ben Melham, produced scenes of celebrations that Rosehill would have never seen before.

It’s been a wild ride for the large group of connections, many of which are first time owners, and has propelled Warwick Farm-based trainer Gary Portelli into the spotlight.

“What just happened? Can I watch the replay?” asked Portelli after his brilliant filly pulled away at the finish.

“I said she’d win on a dry track but to win on a wet track is just phenomenal.

“I started training back in 1990, have been in the game since 1986. This is the race that defines a trainer I believe.

“I’ve been around a long time but I’ve finally got a Golden Slipper winner. I’ve had a few goes.

“This game has taken me a long way. I struggled to get through Year Ten, I was a battler working a night shift in a bakery but my dream was to become a city trainer.”

She Will Reign winning the Slipper

Portelli was as much in awe of Melham’s ride as the 13,568-strong Rosehill crowd.

“That was unbelievable. I spoke (Ben) before the race and said to him ‘I think we have got to go forward.”

“He went quiet and said ‘I think I’m going to go back to last. I am cutting the corner, I’m on the best horse and I’m going to ride her like I did in the Silver Slipper.”

Melham only became associated with She Will Reign by chance, after riding her in a trial when in Sydney to give stablemate Rebel Dane a spin.

“What an absolute thrill, the whole way through she has been a little darling this horse and she hasn’t put a foot wrong. She is not overly big but I tell you what she certainly makes up for it with heart,” said Melham.

“Gary confused me, he wanted me to get her out and sit handy and all day I had a plan in my head. I walked the track just before the Guineas and was happy to ride hard rail.

“I was able to suck up into a beautiful spot before the corner and she did the rest.”

Results and replays for Golden Slipper day at Rosehill

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