Gary Portelli still confident about the Slipper despite She Will Reign's defeat

Mar 05, 2017

There might not have ever been a calmer trainer after watching a Golden Slipper favourite get beaten than Gary Portelli.

Jockey Tommy Berry rides Frolic to win The Affinity Shipping Reisling Stakes at Royal Randwick ahead of Slipper favourite She Will Reign. Photo: bradleyphotos.com.au

She Will Reign met with defeat for the first time when Frolic stormed down the outside fence in the Reisling Stakes on a very heavy track at Randwick on Saturday.

However, She Will Reign maintained favouritism for the Golden Slipper, despite Magic Millions winner Houtzen staying unbeaten at Eagle Farm in her final lead-up.

"She didn't really handle those conditions, but she was all right. If you are going to get beaten you rather it on this day rather than Slipper day," Portelli said. "She had a good blow after it. She needed that run to be right for the Slipper.

"I'm not that concerned she got beaten because she went outstanding."

She Will Reign was out to $3.60 but still favourite for the Golden Slipper, while Houtzen tightened into $4.40.

Reisling winner Frolic is into $11 and Gunnison, which nosed stablemate Invader in the Todman Stakes, is a $15 chance in the Slipper with Ladbrokes.

Portelli had walked the track with Ben Melham and Frolic's jockey Tommy Berry before the first, and might have brought about his filly defeat.

"I said to Tommy and Ben, it is like a road out here [near the outside fence] when we were out on there and when I saw Frolic I thought, you bugger, Tommy," Portelli said.

Frolic continues to improve and is a chance in the Golden Slipper, even though she might have been flatter by being on the best ground.

"To his credit, [Tommy] said, to me before the race 'if they start trekking out into the middle of the track I have no issues coming to the outside fence, I think it is the best place to be'," Frolic's trainer Michael Freedman said.

"Until she got out to that part of that track it looked like she was labouring but when she got onto the slightly better going she sprinted quickly like she did the other day.

"She can only do what she has done. It was a restricted race the other day. Obviously the conditions today aren't ideal and a few will come out of it with hard luck stories because of the track.

"She has had a perfect prep going into the Slipper and now she has gained a start she has a nice two weeks into it."

Chris Roots, Syndey Morning Herald