When She Will Reign passed the post on Saturday to win the Golden Slipper at Rosehill, there were few who knew how much that $2 million winners prize money was actually worth.
A Scott Darby-run syndicate bought the filly as a yearling for just $20,000 in a fairly innocuous sale that went relatively unnoticed.
Now that same filly has career earnings of over $2.5 million after just five races thanks to a three-race winning streak to kick off her career on the track, then topped off with the stunning Slipper win.
She Will Reign was by far the cheapest runner in the field that made up the richest two-year-old handicap race on the planet, turning a group of hopeful connections into very happy and wealthy people in the process.
A debut win at Kembla Grange in December kicked off her journey to the Slipper and showed early signs of the fillies immense potential, winning by a ridiculous eight lengths in the Maiden Handicap.
A second place finish in her last start before the Slipper at Randwick in the Reisling Stakes has been the only negative blip on the radar, if you want to call it that, despite the two-year-old raking in another $57,000 for the place, nearly triple her original worth.
Trainer Gary Portelli also made it seventh time lucky in the big race, bagging his maiden Slipper win after six previous unsuccessful ventures.
He nearly missed out again though if it weren’t for the strategic mind of his winning jockey Ben Melham, who has ridden all five of She Will Reign’s wins.
“I spoke to the jockey before the race and said to him ‘I think we have got to go forward’,” Portelli said. “He went quiet and said ‘I think I’m going to go back to last. I am cutting the corner.”
“The way I see it I’m on the best horse and I’m going to ride her like she is,” Melham said to Portelli.
“I decided to leave it to him. That’s why we pay him the big dollars.”
And right he was. Melham rode her to near perfection on Saturday, blitzing past pre-race favourite Houtzen on the final turn after sitting back through the meat of the race.
The legs got the job done in the end, completing a fairytale victory for a horse that should have been out of its financial depth.