By Ray Hickson
There’ll be nowhere to hide for talented three-year-old Time To Reign in the new year as trainer Gary Portelli chases a stallion making Group 1 win with the well related colt.
Time To Reign was a surprise starter at Monday’s Hawkesbury trials where he finished third in an 800m heat behind Cradle Mountain to kick off his preparation.
Of course the colt missed the spring when he contracted a virus after his second trial and Portelli said he’ll resume in Melbourne in mid-January before working out the first Group 1 race to target.
“It was a bit painful watching the whole spring disappear on us but he’s developed into a very strong horse,’’ Portelli said.
“I wanted to give him an easy trial, there’s a long way to go and at this stage we’re bringing him along steady.’’
With Robbie Dolan in the saddle, Time To Reign settled third and fourth in the run and basically stayed in the same position to the line.
Portelli said when his heat was combined with another it changed the trial from a leisurely gallop into more of a race and he ensured Dolan was mindful not to overtax him.
“It turned into a pretty hot trial and I was hoping for a slower run trial, just a nice gallop, but Robbie didn’t go chasing him along,’’ he said.
“He was very fired up before the trial in the tie-ups, getting anxious because he knows what he’s there for but he’s fresh. It was good to see him relax out of the barriers and take a sit.’’
Time To Reign, the half-brother to Portelli’s Golden Slipper winner She Will Reign, hasn’t raced since running fifth in this year’s Slipper behind Kiamichi.
He was an impressive winner of the Group 2 Silver Slipper and on the back of that win started favourite in the Todman Stakes won by subsequent TAB Everest hero Yes Yes Yes.
Portelli said the colt will have a second trial before resuming in the Kensington Stakes and he’s keen to keep the horse to races at 1100m and below for the time being.
That limits his options but Portelli said the Group 1 Galaxy (1100m), won by three-year-old Russian Revolution a couple of years ago, is a likely Sydney target.
“We are hoping he’s not a one trick pony where he has to lead all the time,’’ he said.
“We’re hoping to see him eventually get to the stallion barn but it all comes down to what he does at three and four now.
“The fact he’s limited at distances we’re probably going to space his runs. Most of the three-year-old races in the autumn are getting up to a mile and 2000m races so he’s going to be taking on open class horses.’’
Time To Reign runs third in a Hawkesbury trial on December 16
Meanwhile, Portelli is hoping Wandonna can set up a successful summer campaign when she resumes at Kensington on Wednesday.
The filly accepted in two races but Portelli said the Pluck @ Vinery Handicap (1250m) is shaping as the likely preference due to having less opposition.
“She’s a nice filly and I think she will run well. The smaller field will suit,’’ he said.
“If you’re three sets back over 1200m it’s better than five sets back. She’s been working nicely, she’s a lovey filly who might not be sharp enough for 1200m but she will certainly run well.’’
Wandonna ran third behind Castelvecchio on debut back in January and started last preparation with a closing third over 1100m at Canterbury in July.