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Gary Portelli has given She Will Reign the tick of approval for the Oakleigh Plate

A relieved Gary Portelli has given She Will Reign the tick of approval for the Oakleigh Plate after the filly’s win in an Inglis sales-restricted race at Warwick Farm.

Although the Golden Slipper winner won the Group One Moir Stakes at the first of her two starts in the spring, her trainer was wary after her unplaced run in the $10 million Everest.

Portelli opted to run She Will Reign on her home track on Saturday in preference to the Rubiton Stakes at Caulfield, the track where the Group One Oakleigh Plate (1100m) is run in two weeks.

With She Will Reign’s main challenger Nature Strip out of the Inglis Sprint (1100m) because of a bad blood picture, the filly started the $1.24 favourite but missed the start before Ben Melham urged her to the front and she kept going to beat Acqume ($13) by a length.

“I’ve always thought she was a better horse chasing and if Nature Strip had been there she wouldn’t have had to lead,” Portelli said.

“It is always a bit nerve-wracking and she was out of her comfort zone but she got the job done and that’s what we wanted.

“There is still improvement in her for the Oakleigh Plate.”

Melham had not ridden She Will Reign since the Golden Slipper last March with the filly not getting enough weight for him in her two spring starts.

He said she had matured and he was pleased with her effort.

“She was a little complacent in the gates and the saddle came back a bit when she jumped which made it a bit uncomfortable,” Melham said.

“I thought this race might have been a bit softer but she had excuses.

“She has filled out. She’s always been a sensible horse but she is more mature now.”

Portelli plans to take She Will Reign to Melbourne ahead of the Oakleigh Plate to give her a gallop at Caulfield, a track which has proven tricky for Sydney horses.

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