Securing several impressive results over the 2014 racing calendar without being able to secure a win, trainer Gary Portelli is confident Rebel Dane will find career-best form over the Autumn Carnival following a positive stint in the spelling paddock.
Claiming six wins and a further four minor places form his 20 starts since debuting for Portelli in the spring of 2012, Rebel Dane placed a credible third in the Group 2 Missile Stakes (1200m) first-up in spring; progressing to third in the Group 1 Moir Stakes (1200m) and fourth in the Group 1 Manikato Stakes (1200m) and returning to the paddock following a luckless run for seventh in the Group 1 Darley Classic (1200m) on November 8th.
Pleased with the condition of the California Dane entire since his return to his Warwick Farm stables, Portelli told Racing Ahead he is confident of further success at the highest level of racing for the five-year-old this time in.
“He looks fantastic and it’s the best I’ve had him walk in the drive way. He’s up to 500kg so I’ve got a bit to work with this time,” Portelli said.
“He was 440kg when he won his first four starts in a row and then he made it to 460kg and last preparation he was 480kg, so every preparation he’s gotten stronger physically and gone up in ratings.
“Hopefully this is the preparation where he really goes to a new rating again because realistically this year it looks like the best bunch of sprinters we’ve had for a long time.”
Having claimed three wins and two minor places over his five campaign first-up appearances, Portelli is confident of continuing the trend in the Group 1 William Reid Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley in March.
“At this stage we’re aiming him first-up at the William Reid at Moonee Valley,” Portelli said.
“Unfortunately it’s the week before the TJ Smith so we won’t get to race in the $3 million race but at this stage with this horse it’s all about trying to get another Group 1 beside his name.
“He races so well around Moonee Valley that I think we’d be mad not to target that race. Having said that, if he comes up enormous and a few of the big names fell away for whatever reason then we could always run him in the T.J. Smith.”
Undoubtedly hitting career-best condition to date over the 2013 spring, Rebel Dane comfortably won the Group 3 Show County Quality (1200m) first-up and continued to progress towards and impressive victory in the Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m) most notably.
Placing an impressive second to Lankan Rupee in the Group 1 T.J. Smith Stakes first-up in 2014, Rebel Dane ran fifth in the Group 1 All Aged Stakes (1400m) and fourth in the Group 1 Doomben 10,000 (1350m) before a difficult run for seventh with a heavy weight in the Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m).