Andrew Pieper will no doubt be celebrating long and hard after She Will Reign took out the richest two-year old race in the world – the Longines Golden Slipper.
The Tamworth business development manager for ILG (Independent Liquor Group) is a part owner of Manhattan Rain-Courgette mare and was, along with wife Bianca, trackside to cheer her to a two-and-a-quarter length win over Frolic.
The victory, produced scenes of celebrations that Rosehill would have never seen before.
The large syndicate of owners crowded in the the mounting yard and as the presentation ended chanted "She Will Reign, She WIll Reign".
“I said she’d win on a dry track but to win on a wet track is just phenomenal,” trainer Gary Portelli said.
“I started training back in 1990, have been in the game since 1986. This is the race that defines a trainer I believe.
Portelli was as much in awe of jockey Ben Melham’s ride as the 13,568-strong Rosehill crowd.
“That was unbelievable. I spoke (Ben) before the race and said to him ‘I think we have got to go forward.”
“He went quiet and said ‘I think I’m going to go back to last. I am cutting the corner, I’m on the best horse and I’m going to ride her like I did in the Silver Slipper.”
Melham only became associated with She Will Reign by chance, after riding her in a trial when in Sydney to give stablemate Rebel Dane a spin.
“What an absolute thrill, the whole way through she has been a little darling this horse and she hasn’t put a foot wrong. She is not overly big but I tell you what she certainly makes up for it with heart,” Melham said.
“Gary confused me, he wanted me to get her out and sit handy and all day I had a plan in my head. I walked the track just before the Guineas and was happy to ride hard rail.
“I was able to suck up into a beautiful spot before the corner and she did the rest.”
Single Bullet, part-owned by Tamworth’s Leonie Johnson, finished back in 13th.