By Bren O'Brien
When Time To Reign (Time For War) steps out on debut in the Forum Group Kirkham Plate on Saturday at Randwick, it will be a significant and emotional moment for Darby Racing.
Not only will he be the first runner for the ill-fated stallion who they syndicated as a racehorse, Time For War, as the name suggests, Time To Reign is a half-brother to their G1 Golden Slipper S. winner She Will Reign (Manhattan Rain).
He bolted in at a recent Warwick Farm trial by over three lengths and looks set to live up to his pedigree page.
Scott Darby and a bunch of clients stumped up $325,000 at this year's Magic Millions Sale for the colt out of Courgette (Charge Forward), $305,000 more than they paid for their champion filly at the Inglis Classic Sale two years' earlier.
"We were always going to give it a good push. Our very good client and friend (Garry Bachell) bred the horse and bred She Will Reign and we didn’t know exactly what he was going to bring, we’ve got limits on syndication," Darby told TDN AusNZ.
"We mustered up a heap of existing clients, if we were going to get him at a certain range, to give us a bit of a push in spending bigger money."
Darby said that only a few of the syndicate involved with She Will Reign purchased into Time To Reign.
"Given She Will Reign was a cheaper syndication and this bloke was quite expensive, there's probably only three who were involved in She Will Reign," he said.
"They are overseas at the moment and Gary rang me so he could listen to the trial. I'm describing the trial to him as he's running and I was saying he's going to bolt in and he broke down in tears." - Scott Darby on describing Time To Reign's trial win to owners
"I suppose if they had sold She Will Reign and this guy came up for syndication afterwards, it might have been a different story. You might have got more people jump in."
Among the connections are Garry Bachell and CP Ewe, who bred this colt through Noogee Park.
Darby revealed Time To Reign's debut comes at a particularly difficult time for Garry and C P.
"It’s a pretty emotional time. Just recently CP has been diagnosed with a terminal illness and she's got very little time to live according to the doctor," Darby said.
"They are overseas at the moment and Gary rang me so he could listen to the trial. I'm describing the trial to him as he's running and I was saying he's going to bolt in and he broke down in tears."
Different sort of horse
Darby said the comparisons between the colt and his older half sister were minimal apart from their precocity.
"He's probably not a lot like her to be honest. He's a different sort of horse all together. He's probably thrown more to the Time For War/Snitzel kind of look," he said.
"We've only seen him in one trial and I suppose, if you are going to draw any comparisons to She Will Reign, he's definitely showing her sort of dash early." - Scott Darby
"We've only seen him in one trial and I suppose, if you are going to draw any comparisons to She Will Reign, he's definitely showing her sort of dash early. She really liked the wet and Ben (Melham - jockey) thought he ate the mud in the trial."
"We're going to know a lot more about him come raceday, He looked very impressive. He is very athletic. I would describe him as a typical Snitzel-line horse. He's got good leg underneath him."
Darby predicted that if he showed the same dash as a 2-year-old as She Will reign, they would likely look to target the Golden Slipper, despite the fact he is eligible for the Magic Millions 2YO Classic.
"We're going to know a lot more about him come raceday, He looked very impressive. He is very athletic. I would describe him as a typical Snitzel-line horse. He's got good leg underneath him." - Scott Darby
Having been retired after being sold earlier this year, She will Reign is now destined for a date with superstar stallion Deep Impact (Jpn).
Given the value she has added to his pedigree page and the way he has developed since he was bought as a yearling, Darby feels that there may be a future as a stallion for Time To Reign should he show what is required on the racetrack.
"He's a terrific sort as well. If we could hit some heights, I'm sure some studs will be interested, being by Time For War, a son of Snitzel" he said.
Before his Time
The significance of their colt being the first by Time For War to debut is not lost on Darby. The Kitchwin Hills stallion died in December 2016 at the end of his second season at stud.
"As often seems to be the case, when a young stallion dies early, his progeny often turn out to be pretty good." - Scott Darby
"He was a terrific horse and he has really left some lovely stock. We’ve got three or four in the stable, and they are all showing all good ability," he said.
"As often seems to be the case, when a young stallion dies early, his progeny often turn out to be pretty good."
The now 3-year-old half-sister to She Will Reign, who sold for $425,000 at the 2017 Easter Sales to John Squarcini, Rosina Kojonup (Shamus Award), has had one start for Bjorn Baker. There is also a yearling full-sister to Time To Reign, while Courgette is set to foal to I Am Invincible this spring.
Time To Reign is not the only well-related debutant in the race. Evening Slippers (Snitzel), a $1.8m yearling purchase, is a full sister to Group 1 winner Sweet Idea as well as Showtime. She races for Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott for a syndicate of owners which includes Arrowfield and Northern Farm.