There have been few wins more eye-popping than She Will Reign’s at Kembla Grange in recent years, but Holy Reign’s triumph certainly evoked memories of the star filly for part-owner Michael Tobin on Tuesday.
Tobin, a Gwynneville resident, watched on track gleefully more than two years ago when She Will Reign gave her rivals whiplash in a eight length romp on debut.
It would be the start of a journey of a lifetime for Tobin.
She Will Reign went on to win the $3.5 million Golden Slipper at her fifth career start in 2017 before winning a Group 1 Moir Stakes as a three-year-old.
She was retired to the breeding barn last August, but Tobin stayed in the racing game after buying into a number of new purchases at the sale yard. Holy Reign was one of those buys.
“Obviously because of the Manhattan Rain connection with She Will Reign we were interested and we were very impressed with the horse when we saw it as a foal. And it was foaled on my birthday so how could you go wrong?” Tobin said.
Tobin part owns Holy Reign in a family syndicate.
The three-year-old, trained by Kim Waugh, had six career starts before arriving at Tobin’s ‘home track’ to contest the Wongawilla Provincial and Country Maiden Plate (1300m) on Tuesday.
After jumping as a $2.15 favourite, Holy Reign wore down Uno That ($61) to score by a short head, with Lord Desanimaux ($71) in third.
“I thought he would be very hard to beat,” Tobin said.
“He is a pretty honest horse. He has been very unlucky. A bad ride cost him a win last time and he has run into a couple of really good horses.
“He is still learning and he will improve even more. He is a better horse over 1400 to 1600m anyway.”
Jockey Blake Shinn was happy things went to plan.
“I thought we had the race in our keeping pretty much all the way,” he said.
“We got into a nice spot from an awkward draw and he travelled well.
“He picked the leader up at about the 200m and he just seemed to float a little bit when he got to the front.
“He responded well when I asked and did enough to win.
“It was a good effort.”