Trainer Gary Portelli believes that Rebel Dane has every chance to return to winning form in the 2014 Manikato Stakes after he drawing an ideal gate for the Group 1 event at Moonee Valley on Saturday.
Rebel Dane has not recorded a race win since he took out the Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield in September last year, but he has been a consistent performer at the highest level of racing and has been plagued by poor barrier draws.
The California Dane entire was one of the big winners of the 2014 Manikato Stakes barrier draw on Tuesday morning and he will jump from gate three, which Portelli believes is crucial to the winning chances of the five-year-old on Friday night.
“We just seem to be drawing the wrong marble all the time, so we gave the job of choosing the right barrier to Craig Williams and he has pulled the three out which was great,” Portelli told Racing Ahead.
“We were almost dancing a jig around the office with all the staff when that came out because it is so important with this horse and if he is going to be a chance of winning the race he has to be in the right spot during the run and have the right amount of luck.
“He is not a dominant sort of sprinter and I think that at this level you could hold this race three or four times with different barriers drawn and have a different winner.
“At least we have drawn a good gate and hopefully things go to plan.”
Rebel Dane was settled at the tail of the field in the Group 1 Moir Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on September 26, while Buffering was able to get away with easy sectionals at the front of the field, and he was held up for a run coming around the turn before he ran home strongly to finish third.
Portelli believes that there will be far more early speed in the Manikato Stakes this weekend, with Lankan Rupee challenged Buffering for the lead in the early stages of the race, and he is hopeful that the race will be run to suit his star galloper
“I would like to see the first 600 run faster than the last 600 for a change, that would be a good start for us,” Portelli said.
“I think that we will just come out in neutral and be midfield and get on the back of a horse that can take us into the race and not get into a bottleneck coming around the corner.
“It is just going to be one of those races and I think that the best horse will win the race.
“I just hope that we get every chance, there are no sad stories after the race and everybody gets their chance.
“It is just going to be a great race and the dynamics are going to be interesting with a couple of the new horses.”
Rebel Dane is currently available at 2014 Manikato Stakes odds of $8.50, while Lankan Rupee ($3.80) is now a narrow favourite from Terravista ($3.90).