Surprisingly unable to break through for a race win over an impressive 2014 campaign, trainer Gary Portelli has revealed talented sprinter Rebel Dane will be set for the featured Group 1 William Reid Stakes (1200m) upon returning to racing in 2015.
Securing a commendable race record of six wins and a further four minor places from just 20 competitive appearances on course so far, Rebel Dane finished second to the world’s leading sprinter Lankan Rupee in the Group 1 T.J. Smith Stakes (1200m) first-up this year on April 12th; progressing to a luckless fifth in the Group 1 All Aged Stakes (1400m) before a brief winter campaign.
Placing third in the Group 1 Moir Stakes (1200m) and fourth in a fanning finish in the Group 1 Manikato Stakes (1200m) most notably over four spring starts, Portelli told TVN he is hoping a trip to Melbourne over autumn will offer a far-greater chance of a second Group 1 victory for the California Dane entire than remaining in Sydney for The Championships.
“Originally we were planning a first-up run in the T. J. Smith during The Championships, but realistically he’s a top-eight finisher in that, but he’d be a winning chance in the William Reid, so we’ve decided to go that way,” Portelli said.
“It’s also a Group 1 which would be important for the horse if he ever went to stud. It would certainly add to his CV.
“There is only a week between the William Reid and the T. J. Smith so we might miss running into some of the superstars.”
Having returned to the paddock following a seventh place finish amongst particularly classy competition in the Group 1 Darley Classic (1200m) on November 8th, Portelli said Rebel Dane will remain spelling for at least another fortnight and has already taken particularly well to his time away from racing.
“He looks enormous,” Portelli said.
“I got a photo sent through of him yesterday and I didn’t recognise him – he’s put on really good weight.”
A competitive performer in each of his four racing preparations since first debuting on course in 2012, Rebel Dane undoubtedly found career-best form over a 2013 spring campaign highlighted by a close victory in the Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m).