Gary Portelli’s Golden Slipper winning filly She Will Reign is gearing up for her autumn return with Caulfield’s Group 1 $500,000 Oakleigh Plate (1100m) in February an early sprint target for the three-year-old.
A juvenile revolution for the Warwick Farm-based Portelli, She Will Reign has enjoyed five wins and a second from her seven career starts to date.
Her impressive record, which has netted the daughter of Manhattan Rain over $3 million in prize money already, is headlined by her Group 1 $3.5 million Golden Slipper Stakes (1200m) success on a Heavy (10) Rosehill track as a two-year-old back in March.
During her three-year-old season in the spring, She Will Reign returned in flying style making an immediate impact in her Melbourne debut on September 29 at The Valley.
There she took on the older short-distance specialists first-up and held on narrowly for a weight-for-age success over subsequent Winterbottom Stakes winner Viddora in the Group 1 $500,000 Moir Stakes (1000m).
Second-up She Will Reign raced in the inaugural edition of Sydney’s Restricted $10 million The Everest (1200m) race at Royal Randwick where she failed to fire running second last (11th) behind Redzel.
Sent straight to the paddock to recover, She Will Reign is back in work for Portelli and will begin her next campaign south at the Melbourne Festival of Racing following dual trials in Sydney.
“She Will Reign had her first gallop on Saturday morning and just had an easy gallop running home in 26 the last two going half pace,” Portelli told Racing NSW.
He went on to confirm the sprinter’s first elite level aim of the autumn would be at Caulfield Racecourse on Ladbrokes Blue Diamond Stakes Day, February 24, in the Oakleigh Plate.
The last three-year-old Oakleigh Plate winner was Starspangledbanner back in 2010, while Miss Kournikova (2001) was the last filly to take out the autumn sprint showdown.
In the lead-up to the Oakleigh Plate, Portelli is eyeing an earlier Caulfield start on February 10 in the Group 2 $200,000 Schweppes Rubiton Stakes (1100m).
“At the moment the plan is to run in the Rubiton Stakes at Caulfield in early February as a lead-up to the Oakleigh Plate,” Portelli confirmed.
“Then we will look at Sydney.”
The Rubiton Stakes – Oakleigh Plate double was most recently achieved by the Mick Price-trained Lankan Rupee in 2014.
A likely Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival target for She Will Reign is the weight-for-age Group 1 $2.5 million TJ Smith Stakes (1200m) run at Randwick on April 7 during ‘The Championships’.
The ‘Grey Flash’ Chautauqua (2015-17) has dominated the past three editions of the TJ Smith Stakes, while Melito saluted for the three-year-old fillies in the race back in 2010.