Breakthrough wins for trio of stallions

4 min read

Time for War, Better Than Ready and Whittington all had their first 2-year-old winners on Saturday with Time To Reign, The Odyssey and Button Pusher recording impressive wins at Randwick, Doomben and the Gold Coast respectively.

Time To Reign, by ill-fated Kitchwin Hills stallion Time for War, lived up to his pedigree page with a strong on-pace effort on the soft track in Sydney.

The half-brother to 2017 Golden Slipper S. winner She Will Reign (Manhattan Rain) handled his debut well in the Forum Group Kirkham Plate and despite hanging out a bit late, had 2.3l to spare on Bivouac (Exceed and Excel) with the $1.8 million filly Evening Slippers (Snitzel) third.

Trainer Gary Portelli, who also prepared She Will Reign, was suitably impressed with the debut and is already thinking about next year's Golden Slipper with the colt.

"He's very green, but he looked strong through the line, he's only going to improve." - Gary Portelli on Time To Reign's debut

"I was feeling the pressure today. You've got a potential stallion on your hands, a half brother to a Golden Slipper winner that can gallop, you don't like to see them get beaten their first start," Portelli said after the race.

"He's very green, but he looked strong through the line, he's only going to improve."

Jockey Rachael King confirmed post race that Time To Reign had a very good look around down the straight and she struggled to keep him on a straight line.

Time To Reign as a yearling

With that in mind, Portelli is confident in the colt's prospects going forward this campaign and next.

"He's never galloped away from home. You have to understand these horses aren’t humans. He wouldn’t know where the winning post is. He's kicked 200m from home, and he doesn't know where to go," he said.

"There's plenty of upside for this bloke, we were talking about heading to Melbourne for the Maribyrnong Plate, but it depends on how he comes through the run."

"I reckon he's going to be a good horse next preparation, he's got plenty of leg under him. He still hasn't filled out yet."

Portelli said the experience of having raced on a soft track could also prove important later in his 2-year-old season.

"We always know come Slipper time that there is a big potential for the rain that time of year. If we can get him qualified for a Slipper, my God, look out!"

It's an especially important success for Darby Racing, who bought Time To Reign for $325,000 at this year's Magic Millions Sale. Darby Racing also bought and syndicated Time For War, who stood for two seasons at Kitchwin Hills before his premature death in December 2016.

"If we can get him qualified for a Slipper, my God, look out!" - Gary Portelli

They also raced She Will Reign, who they famously won the world's richest 2-year-old race with having paid just $20,000 for her at the 2016 Inglis Classic Sale

Ready, Set, Go

At Doomben, Lyndhurst farm Stud's Better Than Ready secured his first-ever winner when The Odyssey put on a professional display to win the St Rita's College by QTIS 2YO Hcp by 3.25l.

Having his second start, The Odyssey turned the tables on short-price favourite Guntantes (Rothesay), with the well-supported Okeechobee (Sebring) third.

It was a special success for trainer Kelly Schweida, who prepared Better Than Ready during his career.

The Odyssey was a $30,000 buy for Schweida at the 2018 Magic Millions Sale. He is out of the Snitzel mare Jessica's Hope, whose dam was half-sister to Irish Listed winner Judicial.

Whittington on the Button

At the Gold Coast, Button Pusher marked the first win for Grandview Stud's Whittington, powering to a 3.75L win in a 2YO maiden.

Button Pusher was third on debut to Courseshewill (Unencumbered) at Doomben and took substantial improvement second time out for trainer Brad Witt.


In Adelaide, Sebrakate (Sebring) is headed to the Magic Millions after notching a narrow win over her two stablemates in the Laughing Jack Wines 2-year-old Plate.

Having caused an upset win on debut, Sebrakate started a short-priced favourite this time around but needed until the stride in the 1000m event to defeat Emconi Star (Equiano {Fr}) and Power Scheme (Fiorente {Ire}).

Lindsay Park also won the 2YO race at Bendigo, with the Aquis Farm owned Espinola (Bel Esprit) prevailing.