Trainer Gary Portelli understandably has a soft spot for Group-winning colt Time To Reign who is the half-brother to his 2017 Golden Slipper winner She Will Reign.
And the Sydney trainer is hoping Time To Reign will be able to measure up in feature sprints this campaign to stamp his credentials as a stallion prospect.
Time To Reign is scheduled to travel from Sydney by road to Melbourne overnight on Thursday to begin his campaign in Saturday’s Listed Kensington Stakes (1000m) at Flemington.
While the meeting is still scheduled to go ahead, smoke haze is predicted to return to Melbourne on Saturday and racing officials will continue to liaise with the Bureau of Meteorology and Environmental Protection Authority about conditions.
Racing Victoria has been forced to call off meetings at Werribee on Tuesday and Yarra Valley and Caulfield on Wednesday because of the haze from bushfires and poor air quality in the area.
Time To Reign won three of his six starts as a two-year-old including the Group Two Silver Slipper, and was fifth in the Golden Slipper.
Portelli had to abort Time To Reign’s spring campaign when he failed to get over an elevated temperature as quickly as hoped, but the Warwick Farm trainer said the colt has had a faultless build-up after a good spell.
“We’re hoping this colt can get some really good results this preparation and consolidate his position in someone’s stallion barn,” Portelli said.
“He’s had a really good preparation leading into this.
“He’s been in work for a long time and we planned to set a good core for him so that he could have a long preparation.
“He’s had two trials to have him ready and at this point everything has gone completely to plan without any hiccups.”
Unlike his illustrious half-sister, Portelli says Time To Reign is not the sort of horse to set the track alight in his work which makes it harder to gauge how well he is going.
Portelli said it was only in barrier trials and races Time To Reign showed his ability.
The sprinter signalled he was on target when he won his most recent trial at Warwick Farm by almost 10 lengths.
“I have got him as good as I can get him so I’ve got no queries on where he’s at,” Portelli said.
“But it’s hard to line them up when you haven’t raced against older horses and he’s never been down the straight before.
“There’s plenty of ticks in the right boxes but there’s also a couple of unticked boxes.
“It’s going to be interesting and an exciting day.”
Last-start Listed Christmas Stakes-winning five-year-old All Too Royal is shading Time To Reign for favouritism in Saturday’s field of six.