Trainer Gary Portelli is hoping that the capacity eighteen horse field in the 2014 Stradbroke Handicap will generate plenty of speed to give Rebel Dane a winning chance in the Group 1 event at Eagle Farm on Saturday.
Rebel Dane defied the pattern of the day to make up plenty of ground late in the Group 1 Doomben 10,000 (1350m) at Doomben on May 24, but was not able to catch Spirit Of Boom, Temple Of Boom and Buffering after being forced to settle at the tail of the file from his outside gate.
Portelli is desperately hoping that Rebel Dane will draw an inside gate in the 2014 Stradbroke Handicap barrier draw and told Racing Ahead that the California Dane entire needs a truly run race to record his second Group 1 victory this weekend.
“It is so important that we draw the right barrier and that all the speed horses generate awkward gates, so that we can get some speed down the back straight and make it a truly run race,” Portelli said.
“Usually 18 runners in a race they need to get across no matter what happens so he really should have his chance.
“He is weighted up to his, I think he goes to 56 and a half once the weights get raised, and there has been no horse ever win a Stradbroke with that sort of weight, so that is a worry, but it all comes down to what you are up against as well.”
Rebel Dane has generally performed at her best when kept fresh between her races and the four-year-old had his final serious piece of trackwork over 1000 metres at Eagle Farm this morning.
Portelli said that Rebel Dane had a little blow after completing his work and is confident that the four-year-old is ticking along nicely into his 2014 Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival grand final this weekend.
“He is a horse that I don’t put a real lot of pressure on between runs,” Portelli said.
“That is all he needs and he is a good-winded horse that doesn’t carry a lot of weight.
“We just need to keep him ticking over and keep him sound.
“It has worked so far, so we will just stick to that.”
Rebel Dane is currently on the second line of 2014 Stradbroke Handicap betting markets, at a quote of $4.60, while Ciaron Maher-trained Srikandi ($4.60) remains favourite from Hucklebuck ($7), Red Tracer ($8.50) and Spirit Of Boom ($9).