Top Melbourne jockey Craig Williams has secured the plumb ride on Golden Slipper winner She Will Reign when she kicks off her 2017 Spring Carnival campaign in the Group 1 $500,000 Moir Stakes (1000m) at Moonee Valley on September 29.
Williams takes over from regular rider Ben Melham who will be unable to strip down to the 50kg that She Will Reign will carry under the weight for age scale for a three year old filly in the Moir Stakes.
“Ben has told me he’s working towards getting down to that weight but 50 kilos in the Moir Stakes is too light for him,” trainer Gary Portelli told the Herald Sun.
Melbourne based Melham has been aboard She Will Reign for four of her five starts for three wins, including her brilliant victory in the Group 1 $3.5m Longines Golden Slipper (1200m) at Rosehill during the 2017 Sydney Autumn Carnival.
Melham is working hard to get his weight down to 51kg which is what the Manhattan Rain filly will carry in the $10m The Everest (1200m) at Randwick on October 14.
Portelli has singled out The Everest as She Will Reign’s main Spring Carnival goal and is hoping that Melham will be able to be reunited with the rising three year old filly.
“The Everest will be her Grand Final and we are likely to pull up stumps after that,” Portelli said.
“Benny’s working hard to get down to 51 but Craig will ride her first-up and then he’s there as a back-up if it’s impossible for Ben.”
Portelli has had She Will Reign back in work for a month in preparation for her big Spring assignments and is happy with the way she was progressed during her time off after winning the Golden Slipper.
“She’s 50 kilos heavier than what she was when she won the Slipper. She’s now at the right weight, at the right size as she was quite a small, demure little filly when she went into the Slipper off one preparation,” Portelli said.
“She’s had time to furnish with a 10-week spell and it should be the making of her.
“She’s been in work for about a month and is up to doing three-quarter pace over 800 (metres) so we’ll probably trial her at the end of August and then have another trial in September before we take her down there.”
Deanne Panya is the only other jockey that has ridden She Will Reign and was aboard for the filly’s race day debut which produced an eight and a quarter lengths win in a 1000m Kembla Grange Maiden in December, 2016.
She Will Reign has earned $2,555,150 for her Darby Racing Syndicate from four wins and a second from five starts.
Early betting for The Everest at Ladbrokes.com.au has She Will Reign as the second pick at $7 behind Team Hawkes’ super sprinter Chautauqua at $4.80.
Early market order for the 2017 The Everest at Ladbrokes.com.au: $4.80 Chautauqua, $7 She Will Reign, $8 Caravaggio, $11 Winx, $13 English, Lady Aurelia, $15 Russian Revolution, Houtzen, $17 Spieth, $21 Fell Swoop, Limato, Vega Magic, $26 Acapulco, Black Heart Bart, Lankan Rupee, Bound For Nowhere, Mecca’s Angel, Redzel, Terravista, $34, Global Glamour, Malaguerra, Music Magnate, Takedown, $41 or better the rest.