Trainer Gary Portelli is concerned that the scratching of Victorian speedster Nature Strip will take the genuine pace out of the $250,000 Inglis Sprint (1100m) at Warwick Farm on Saturday.
Portellli will saddle up the $1.30 favourite She Will Reign in the Inglis Sprint and was banking on a hot pace up front to give his filly the best chance of scoring a first up win.
The field for the Inglis Sprint has been reduced to six runners following the withdrawal of the Nature Strip because of a virus and even though several of the remaining three year olds have shown pace in the past, none have raced at the standard that the John Sadler trained gelding has.
Portelli said that jockey Ben Melham was aware of the change of potential pace in the race and would have to sum up the situation as it unfolds.
“We thought Nature Strip would go forward and it would be a truly run race. The speed comes out of the race a little bit so Benny (Melham) is going to have to be on his game,” Portelli told AAP.
“Nature Strip not being there doesn’t make it a lot easier, it makes the complexion of the race change and Ben’s a bit worried he might get stuck behind inferior horses from barrier one.”
“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.’’
“If She Will Reign gets beaten it won’t be the end of the world but I would be disappointed if she can’t win. We just want a bit of luck.’’
“As long as Ben hasn’t moved on her early, she can run anything late in her races.’’
“If she has a target to run down, the sectionals she can rattle off are amazing.’’
Portelli is happy with She Will Reign’s preparation which included a second to the brilliant Super Too in an 800m Warwick Farm barrier trial on January 15 and a pleasing gallop during the week.
“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 was the star of last year’s two year old season with her dominant win in the Group 1 $3.5m Longines Golden Slipper (1200m) at Rosehill during the Autumn Carnival.
The Manhattan Rain filly then resumed for the 2017 Spring Carnival with a first up nose win in the Group 1 $500,000 Charter Keck Cramer Moir Stakes (1000m) at The Valley.
She Will Reign was sent to the paddock following her eleventh to Redzel in the $10m The Everest (1200m) at Randwick on October 14.
The Tim Martin trained Limbo Soul has led at both her race starts for a win in a 1100m Rosehill two year old Maiden in February 2017 followed by a fifth in the Group 3 $175,000 Chandon S Magic Night Stakes (1200m) at Rosehill and is the second pick in the betting at $6.