She Will Reign primed for return in Inglis Sprint

Feb 08, 2018

TRAINER Gary Portelli is taking nothing for granted as he prepares glamour filly She Will Reign for her comeback in the $250,000 Inglis Sprint (1100m) at Warwick Farm on Saturday.

This does look She Will Reign’s race to lose.

She is a dual Group 1 winner of the Golden Slipper and Moir Stakes last year so she is very well placed at set weights, racing on her home track and protecting a perfect first-up record.

Her task has been made even easier with the scratching of boom Melbourne three-year-old Nature Strip after he was found to have contracted a virus.

This leaves a field of six for the Inglis Sprint, with TAB Fixed Odds price assessors rating She Will Reign at Winx-like odds of $1.26 — but Portelli is cautiously optimistic.

“Sometimes in these small fields, sectionals come into play, they can get blocked for a run, luck goes against you, and they are not machines,’’ Portelli said.

She Will Reign has drawn the inside barrier for the Inglis Sprint and although the filly does have the speed to lead, Portelli will be instructing jockey Ben Melham to ride her where she’s comfortable.

“As long as Ben hasn’t moved on her early, she can run anything late in her races,’’ Portelli said. “If she has a target to run down, the sectionals she can rattle off are amazing.’’

She Will Reign was cruising behind the speedy Super Too in a recent Warwick Farm barrier trial and Portelli believes his filly is in similar condition to when she won the Moir Stakes so brilliantly first-up last spring.

“Her work was lovely (Thursday) morning and I’m looking forward to getting her back to the races,’’ Portelli said.

“When she won the Golden Slipper, she looked more like a foal. She was an immature two-year-old and was a little fatty, it was hard to keep the weight off her so she couldn’t miss a day’s work. But she has matured now and her lung capacity is so much different to what it was last season.’’

She Will Reign, the headline act of the Inglis race day, is among a strong team of six stable runners for Portelli on Saturday.

They include the talented Single Bullet, who Portelli warned is on notice when the sprinter contests the Group 3 $150,000 ­Eskimo Prince Stakes (1200m).

“Single Bullet is super well,’’ Portelli said. “The blinkers have gone on and this should help him focus. For a colt, he is not a bad horse to deal with but under pressure on race day, he carries on a bit.

“So, if he doesn’t pull his socks up with the blinkers on, he might get the unkindest cut of all.

“But every time I’ve threatened to geld this bloke he comes out and runs a bottler of a race.’’

Portelli’s pair I Stole Your Love and Now Or Never are $26 chances for the $250,000 Inglis 2YO Classic (1200m), but the trainer said he expected both fillies to be competitive.

“I Stole Your Love trialled very well and she has always shown above-average ability,’’ he said. “Now Or Never is improving so hoping they can both run well.’’

Stable stalwarts Testashadow and Straturbo have had 96 starts between them and they complete the Portelli line-up at Warwick Farm.

Testashadow, winner of the Festival Stakes earlier this summer, recently edged out Hartnell in a Warwick Farm barrier trial and takes his place in the Bowness Stud Mile (1600m).

“He has freshened up beautifully since the Gold Coast (ninth to Tumultuous in the Magic Millions Trophy),’’ Portelli said.

“He is one of those frontrunning types so he will be up there on the pace and we expect him to run very well.’’

Straturbo is a rising nine-year-old and although he has been unplaced in all seven starts this campaign, the trainer maintained the gelding would be competitive in the Sledmere Stud Dash (1000m). “He has been very unlucky at his last two starts,’’ Portelli said. “He is there to run a good race.’’

Ray Thomas - The Daily Telegraph - 08/02/18