Trainer Gary Portelli has revealed that Rebel Dane will return to the races in the 2014 T.J. Smith Stakes as a bigger horse after putting on 20 kilograms during his stint in the spelling paddock.
Portelli opted to give Rebel Dane a lengthy stay away from his stable following the end of his 2013 Spring Racing Carnival campaign and the Sydney-based trainer told RSN this morning that the California Dane entire had taken plenty of benefit from the break from racing.
“He is a horse that has been a late maturing type,” Portelli said.
“I know that he has done a fair bit so far, but if you look at the horse physically he needed to develop.
“We wanted to give him a decent spell and get over the Melbourne spring and he has done that.
“Obviously to go to the next level, which I think that he will need to for the T.J. Smith, he would need to have physically improved and he has put on twenty kilos, so we are heading in the right direction.
“He has come on and hopefully he has improved to take on the big guns at Randwick.”
Portelli elected to set Rebel Dane for a first-up tilt at the Group 1 T.J. Smith Stakes (1200m) at Royal Randwick on April 12 and gave the four-year-old an exhibition gallop between races at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday to help get him ready to take best on the best sprinters in Australia.
Both Portelli and jockey Glen Boss were happy with the way that Rebel Dane performed in the exhibition gallop and are confident he is on the right track to be competitive fresh in the $2.5 million Group 1 event.
“His work was good on Saturday and this morning he was very fresh,” Portelli said.
“I worked him over 1000 metres at three quarter pace and it was nice.
“He hasn’t lost any weight, which I think is the most important thing.
“He probably lost three kilos on the weekend and that is pretty good for him.
“We have a lot of respect for everybody that is at this level and I am just hoping that he has improved enough to make that next step to take on the top class Group 1 horses.”
Rebel Dane is currently available at 2014 T.J. Smith odds of $12; with Newmarket Handicap winner Lankan Rupee ($3.60) a clear favourite from popular Queensland sprinter Buffering ($6.50).