By Ray Hickson
The only thing Time To Reign has in common with his Golden Slipper winning half-sister is their mother.
That’s the one comparison trainer Gary Portelli is prepared to make between the youngster and She Will Reign but that’s not to say Time To Reign doesn’t have his share of ability.
The $325,000 colt (She Will Reign cost just $20,000) debuts in the Forum Group Kirkham Plate (1000m) at Randwick on Saturday.
“I’d love to be able to compare him to her but I haven’t had a horse that could go like her,’’ Portelli said.
“He’s different in that he’s more relaxed and is happy to do whatever anyone tells him to do.
“What you’ve seen is what I’ve seen. His trackwork has been handy, I don’t push my babies along to run time.
“He’s always worked with a mate and had his mate covered usually in his gallops. He’s pretty push button, she was in a bigger rush than he is at the same stage that’s why she won her first trial by nine.’’
Time To Reign has only appeared once at the trials and led all the way to a three length win on a heavy track at Warwick Farm on October 8.
That gives Portelli confidence the wet track at Randwick won’t be a negative.
“He was just out there to have a look. Only twice he’s been out of the barriers but he seems the type once you show him something he learns from it and improves,’’ he said.
“It looked like he handled the track the other day easily and the fact his sister won on a heavy track it shouldn’t be a problem.’’
The bigger problem for Portelli could be the one rival in the Kirkham Plate with race experience.
Time To Reign was $4.20 second favourite with TAB on Friday behind the Gerald Ryan colt Covert Ops ($2.70) who was run down in the last few strides of the Breeders’ Plate three weeks ago.
“He’ll be ready to bounce off that trial and should be ready to run as good as he can at this point in his career,’’ Portelli said.
Time To Reign easily wins a Warwick Farm trial on October 8
“I think he will need to if he’s going to beat this horse of Gerald Ryan’s. If I was training him I’d be confident that he would have improved too so it’s a nice test for us.
“I don’t want to count my chickens just yet because that horse of Gerald’s is a pretty big stumbling block.’’
Portelli said he’ll leave a decision on whether Ronstar lines up in the Listed $150,000 Southern Cross Group Brian Crowley Stakes (1200m) until Saturday morning.
The lanky gelding won his first two starts, including a decision over Diplomatico, before running third behind Toulouse on a soft track back in June.
“I’ll wait to see scratchings and reassess in the morning but my confidence isn’t high on a wet track first-up over 1200m against horses that are fit,’’ Portelli said.
“He’s a nice horse who will win races but I don’t want to throw him in the deep end.’’