Group 1 winner Dear Demi and Rebel Dane worked home strongly to finish behind Celtic Prince in a barrier trial over 800 metres at Warwick Farm this morning.
Dear Demi jumped from the gates well in what was the seventh barrier trial of the day and took up the running in the early stages from Bull Point, Celtic Prince, Laser Hawk and Rebel Dane.
Celtic Prince challenged for the lead at the 500 metre mark and kicked clear, while Dear Demi and Rebel Dane both closed strongly in the final stages of the trial to clear out from the rest of the field.
Celtic Prince has not been seen at the races since he finished second behind Who Shot Thebarman in the Group 1 Auckland Cup (3200m) at Ellerslie on March 5 and looks in good shape ahead of his 2014 Spring Racing Carnival campaign that could include a tilt at a race like the Group 3 Newcastle Gold Cup (2350m).
Dear Demi failed to perform at her best in four race starts during the 2014 Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival, but showed impressive early speed in the barrier trial and connections will be hopeful that she can return to the form she showed when she finished in the placings in the Group 1 Underwood Stakes (1800m), Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) and Group 1 Mackinnon Stakes (2000m) during the 2014 Spring Racing Carnival.
Trainer Clarry Connors is yet to reveal the path that the Zabeel filly will follow during her spring campaign, but she is available at odds of $81 to win the 2014 Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m).
Rebel Dane was given a short stint in the spelling paddock after he finished fourth in the Group 1 Doomben 10,000 (1350m) and Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) during the 2014 Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival and was given the barrier trial by trainer Gary Portelli to prepare him for the Group 2 Missile Stakes (1200m) at Royal Randwick on August 9.
The California Dane entire will then contest the Group 1 Memsie Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on August 30 and could defend his title in the Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m) at the same venue on September 28.
The Chris Waller-trained foursome of Bull Point, My Kingdom Of Fife, Tougher Than Ever and Trade Commissioner were all given quiet trials and all finished in the second half of the field, while injury-plagued gelding Laser Hawk ran home fairly to finish fourth in his third barrier trial appearance of this preparation.