She Will Reign scoops Golden Slipper | Photos

Jockey Ben Melham believed he had a Golden Slipper winner from the first time he rode She Will Reign.

Syndicator Scott Darby believed in She Will Reign after her first win at Kembla.

It took trainer Gary Portelli until some time in the straight at Rosehill on Saturday to know his dream was coming true.

As his flying filly dashed clear Portelli just shook his head as he had waited 27 years for this result.

"I remember watching her win her first start in Hong Kong when I was there with Rebel Dane and I thought you're a handy filly. We are going to have fun," Portelli said. "I wasn't thinking Golden Slipper, Benny was.

"He came back after that first barrier trial and said to me don't book anyone else for her."

This was a win for the battlers, the mum-and-dad owners of a $20,000 filly, and it capped the career of her trainer.

For Melham, who had backed the filly from that first day, the Golden Slipper win confirmed She Will Reign as the best horse he has ridden only behind Black Caviar. His memories were clear of that first day.

"I told the boys that she was mine, I knew she was this good," Melham said. "I come to ride Rebel Dane before Hong Kong and Gary put me on a couple of others and this was the gold. 

"I had to get it right today because I went against what Gary wanted to do but I knew that she was that good."

Darby was at Kembla that day he knew he had something special.

"I thought here we go again driving home from Kembla," Darby said. "She has gone one better than Yankee and won - I have won the Golden Slipper."

Melham and Portelli haven't always agreed about this filly.

"That was unbelievable. I spoke to the jockey 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 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," Portelli said.

"I would have got hang up by my balls if I had got beaten because Gary wanted to ride her completely different," Melham said.

It was daring but brilliant and went just as Melham described. She Will Reign went across to the fence at back of the field and then tracked behind the inside runners and by the turn he was on the back of leader Houtzen, which couldn't handle the conditions.

"I got up inside and hit the front and she still hadn't come off the bridle. When I cut the ribbons it was all over, she is just a very good filly," Melham said.

Portelli has been one of the good guys of racing and has had his good horses but there have been the tough times.

"I started training back in 1990, have been in the game since 1986. This is the race that defines a trainer I believe," Portelli said

"This game has taken me a long way. I struggled to get through year ten, I was a battler working a night shift in a bakery but my dream was to become a city trainer.

"I've been able to train horses and go to Royal Ascot. This game has taken me a long way. It goes to show to anyone out there who is not sure what they're doing in life that if you like something and want to do something, stick at it, work hard and days like this might come."

She Will Reign scored by 2-1/4 lengths from Frolic, which also tracked the fence, while Tulip got third place after a protest was upheld against Menari

The large syndicate or owners crowded in the the mounting yard and as the presentation ended chanted "She Will Reign, She Will Reign".

She did and will for much longer.