Such was the style and dominance of She Will Reign’s debut win, dreams of the bargain filly lining up in the world’s richest two-year-old race were born.
Darby Racing syndicated Yankee Rose, a $10,000 filly who has won more than $2 million after her three-year-old spring, and now have the $20,000 She Will Reign competing in Saturday’s $500,000 Inglis Nursery at Randwick.
Trained by Gary Portelli, She Will Reign’s 8-1/4 length debut win at Kembla Grange last Saturday was enough to put next year’s $3.5 million Golden Slipper on the radar.
She jumped to the front and never looked back, running 56.04 seconds – 0.01s outside of the track record – and covering the last 600m in 32s.
Yankee Rose has won two Group One races and finished third in the Cox Plate behind Winx and Hartnell, but a Kembla maiden has been enough to scale new levels of hype for She Will Reign.
“She reached fever-pitch Yankee, but this filly has just done it at her first start and it’s just overwhelming,” Darby’s racing manager Mark Holland said.
Holland said he had been around racing all his life and had never seen a horse jump the gates as quick as She Will Reign on debut.
“She left the gates like someone lit a fire under her tail,” Holland said.
Portelli had given some indication of the filly’s talent, saying her trackwork sectional times matched it with Group horses.
“He said ‘if I’ve ever saddled up a stakes horse, this is one’,” Holland said.
Holland broke in She Will Reign’s dam Courgette for trainer Gerald Ryan but her talent was never realised because of soundness issues.
Darby racing founder Scott Darby bought Courgette as a tried horse but she couldn’t overcome her problems.
She Will Reign is the first of her three foals to race and Holland said buying her was a no-brainer.
Like Yankee Rose, they syndicated her to a diverse group.
“We’ve got all walks of life owning our horses,” he said.
“This group has already had to have a vote from a couple of different parties that have been interested in buying the filly.
“To a man, they’ve already said no.”
The hype from her debut is unprecedented even with Darby’s success with Yankee Rose who attracted a bid of $2.7 million after she won the Group One ATC Sires’ Produce earlier in the year.
Yankee Rose’s owners rebuffed the offer with a touch of The Castle: “tell ’em they’re dreaming”.
And the group which races She Will Reign has the same attitude, Holland said.
“We’re in for the ride of a lifetime.”