Trainer Gary Portelli’s dream of a matched pair of Golden Slippers has been reignited by Time To Reign’s upset win over Godolphin colt Tassort at Rosehill.
Since his winning debut in November, Tassort has been favourite for next month’s $3.5 million Golden Slipper and punters couldn’t see him being beaten in the lead-up, Saturday’s Group Two Silver Slipper (1100m).
Time To Reign, a half brother to the Portelli-trained 2017 Golden Slipper winner She Will Reign, was well-beaten at Warwick Farm two weeks ago after wins at his first two stars and was an $11 chance on Saturday with Tassort at $1.85.
Cardiff led the field with Time To Reign, ridden by Jason Collett, in a handy position but not leading as his trainer had hoped after getting a bump out of the barrier.
But he was in position to take over the lead in the straight as Tassort made his move from the tail of the field.
He gathered in all but Time To Reign who held him by 2-1/4 lengths.
“The race didn’t go to plan. At the start he got a bad bump out of the gates and Jason had to give him a good dig,” Portelli said.
“Then he got running again and the speed was good so he go into a lovely spot.
“I was worried he didn’t seem to be travelling comfortably enough at the 600 metres but then he balanced up, let rip and showed what a nice horse he is.”
The trainer said the colt’s previous defeat had weighed heavily.
“I couldn’t get much more deflated,” Portelli said.
“He was the $1.60 favourite and I expected him to win, punters expected him to win.
“But he’s a young horse and he did a lot wrong but that defeat toughened him up for today on the soft track.”
Tassort’s jockey James McDonald said he thought the soft track played against his mount with the two colts to meet again in the Todman Stakes in two weeks.