The countdown to the Sydney Spring Racing...
Golden Slipper winning filly She Will Reign is set to kick off her next campaign in Sydney before heading south for an early Group 1 assignment in the Oakleigh Plate 2018 at Caulfield Racecourse in February.
Trainer Gary Portelli has confirmed a change of early autumn racing plans with his $3 million earning daughter of Manhattan Rain who is set to resume at her home Warwick Farm track in the $250,000 Inglis Sprint (1100m) on February 10.
Originally the schedule was set for She Will Reign to run first-up at Caulfield on the same day in the Group 2 $200,000 Schweppes Rubiton Stakes (1100m), which last produced an Oakleigh Plate winner in Lankan Rupee (1st in 2014).
Portelli opted for the home assignment instead however once he realised She Will Reign would carry just 54kg in the Inglis Sprint.
“In the back of my mind I thought the race was a handicap so I hadn’t given it much thought. I just happened to be thinking about it yesterday and asked (Racing Manager) Loren (Wadsworth) to have a look at what the conditions are,” Portelli told Racing NSW.
“She is going to get 54kg, it’s worth more money than the Rubiton and we don’t have to stress her out by going down the Highway, it’s just walk across the road instead. That’ll have her spot on second up for the Oakleigh Plate.
“It’s a no brainer. We don’t need to take on the older horses, we take on three-year-olds restricted to a sale with a home track advantage. With 54kg on her back she is almost a handicapping certainty.”
A winner of five of her seven career starts to date, She Will Reign is best known for her Group 1 $3.5 million Golden Slipper Stakes (1200m) success in March last year.
The now three-year-old became a dual Group 1 winner first-up on September 29 at The Valley saluting in her Melbourne debut to defeat the older horses in the Group 1 $500,000 Moir Stakes (1000m).
She Will Reign was last seen running a disappointing second last when 11th behind Redzel in the inaugural $10 million The Everest (1200m) race at Randwick on October 14.
Portelli plans to give the filly a shot at a third elite level win on February 24 when she contests the Group 1 $500,000 Oakleigh Plate (1100m) second-up on Ladbrokes Blue Diamond Stakes Day.
The last three-year-old to win the Oakleigh Plate was Starspangledbanner (2010), while Miss Kournikova (2001) was the latest filly to take out the handicap sprint.
The Oakleigh Plate 2018 will mark She Will Reign’s maiden look at the Caulfield track, while her first-up run a fortnight earlier has her racing under race conditions at Warwick Farm for the first time also.
She has had two official trials at The Farm, most recently in late August when runner-up to Single Bullet in the same heat that Chautauqua placed third in.
Portelli has scheduled another Warwick Farm trial on January 15 and then a subsequent Randwick trial on January 29, also confirming Melbourne-based hoop Ben Melham would remain in the saddle of She Will Reign over the autumn.
“I could race her this week that’s where we are at. We are treading water at the moment trying to keep her happy because she wants to gallop. She has just been doing pace work,” Portelli said.
“She wants the colours on sooner rather than later so the 10th can’t come around fast enough for her.
“She is a different horse. She looks mature now with different muscle tone. It’s hard to describe but she looks like an older horse whereas before she still looked a bit ‘foaly’.”
A bargain buy for just $20,000 as a yearling, She Will Reign is also expected to race at Randwick over ‘The Championships’ in the Group 1 $2.5 million T.J. Smith Stakes (1200m) in early April.
To back She Will Reign next race at the right autumn racing odds online visit Ladbrokes.com.au today.
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