It’s BOOM time
CHAUTAUQUA TO PEAK FOR EVEREST
IT’S time. The world’s richest race on turf, the $10m The TAB Everest (1200m) is at Royal Randwick tomorrow.
A dozen of the best sprinters around have paid $600,000 a slot for a crack at almost $6m to the winner.
Opinions are split just how it ought to be - but our money is on the champion Chautauqaua to conquer his Everest rivals and write name into history as the inaugural winner.
THIS time last year She Will Reign (pictured) was just another promising filly in the Gary Portelli yard.
By tomorrow afternoon at Randwick she could have won her connections more than $8m after the running of The Everest (1200m).
“She’s probably worth that as a broodmare now so she’s changed some lives,” Portelli said.
It’s been some journey for the $20,000 purchase.
She’s changed Portelli’s plans, and hopes, with every gallop since she first trialled at Rosehill on November 22.
That day she won the 900m trial by 5.3 lengths in 52.70.
Portelli was sitting on a boat on Syndey Harbour for The Everest barrier draw, thinking about how far the filly has come.
“It’s been a crazy ride and I remember her first barrier trial like it was yesterday,” he said. “We were out to have an easy trial and she won it by five and incredible time.”
Portelli was in Hong Kong with Rebel Dane when his filly had her first start at Kembla Grange on December 10.
He watched the race on his iPhone and she won by nine lengths and almost equalled the course record.
“At that point I thought ‘well, I’ve got a fast horse here’, but we didn’t even think about the Slipper until she won the Inglis Nursery race,” he said.
She went on to win Golden Slipper and sensationally won the Moir Stakes first-up a few weeks ago, defying not only history but leaders biased track at Mooney Valley.
“Every time we’ve put the bar up she’s cleared it,” Portelli said.
“There was a big question mark even though I happy with her before the Moir.”
“I was prepared for the worst because record books said we were up against it and she proved us all wrong again.”
Her only loss was in the Reisling Stakes where she found the worse part of the track to run second behind Frolic.
Considering what she’s achieved in her six-start career, a case could be made that she’s the best filly since Miss Finland.
Portelli was happy with the comparison.
“At this stage it’s looking like that. Miss Finland was a very good horse so she’s got lot to live up to in that regard,” he said. “She’s come out of a Golden Slipper and won Group 1, so she could be something special and after this weekend we’ll know.”
She Will Reign will come out of gate two in tomorrow’s Everest, which will suit her racing style.
Corey Brown will position her just off the speed, expected to be created by Houtzen and Deploy.
Portelli said she’s ready to defy the odds and beat the older, more seasoned, sprinters once again.
“The confidence levels are pretty high. She’s just that sort of horse that gives you confidence and the way she worked on Tuesday morning showed me she’s the horse to beat,” he said.
“She covers ground, has a great turn of foot, is a powerhouse and has a great set of lungs on her. She’s a machine.” Portelli’s big worry is every other trainer’s big worry — flying late Chautauqua. He’s won the past three TJ Smith Stakes and has quickly deflated the hopes of a number of other runners with his late surge. Portelli knows he’ll be flashing late. “Chautauqua no doubt is the biggest threat, he’s a good horse on big days, but it’s still an even race,” he said.