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Gary Portelli and Ben Melham are anxiously waiting on Oakleigh Plate nominations

Trainer Gary Portelli and Ben Melham are anxiously waiting on Oakleigh Plate nominations to calculate whether the jockey will be able to ride She Will Reign in the Group One sprint.

Melham was aboard when the filly won the Golden Slipper but had to forfeit the winning ride in the Group One Moir Stakes in September when Kerrin McEvoy rode her at 50kg.

Corey Brown was on at 51kg in The Everest with Melham back for her most recent start in the Inglis Sprint when she won with 54kg.

“We are waiting on nominations on Monday to see where she sits and hoping she gets more than 53 so Benny can ride,” Portelli said.

“Anything less and it will be hard for him.”

Portelli’s original plan was to take She Will Reign to Melbourne for the Group Two Rubiton Stakes to give her a look at Caulfield which has been a tricky track for some Sydney-trained horses.

But he decided to keep her at home on February 10 for the $250,000 sales-restricted Inglis Sprint on her home track at Warwick Farm.

He will not send her to Melbourne until late in the week, a practice he has used with his horses in the past.

“She’ll probably go down on Thursday,” he said.

“Sometimes we can over-think these things.

“She’d never been to Moonee Valley. She’d never raced under lights and she won the Moir Stakes.”

The horse the trainer hopes can give him consecutive Golden Slipper wins, Exceltic, is now likely to head to the Black Opal Stakes at Canberra on March 11.

Exceltic has had two starts for two seconds, the most recent in Saturday’s Pierro Plate behind the Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott-trained Santos who is now among the favourites for the $3.5 million Golden Slipper on March 24.

 
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