Trainer Gary Portelli is banking on a home town advantage to help Rebel Dane breakthrough for his initial Group 1 victory in the $550,000 Hyland Race Colours Royal Randwick Guineas (1600m) at Warwick Farm tomorrow.
Rebel Dane is trained out of Portelli’s Warwick Farm stables and showed that he can mix it with the best with a short half head second to super star three year old Pierro on a heavy track in the Group 2 $200,000 Hobartville Stakes (1400m) at Rosehill on March 2.
“Being at Warwick Farm is also a help. The horses are trained here and they know where the winning post is and that’s what they aim at,” Portelli said.
“If he is going to win a Group 1, this is the one. And if Pierro is the benchmark then he is pretty close.”
Rebel Dane rounded off his Randwick Guineas preparation with a 1000m gallop yesterday morning on the course proper at Warwick Farm with stablemate All The Talk who is on a Golden Slipper path.
“He worked over 1000m on the course proper with All The Talk. There wasn’t much between them but they weren’t there to race each other,” Portelli said.
“They both worked well and came home the last 400m in twenty-three and a half seconds.”
Portelli hopes that Rebel Dane’s performances are enough for his owner’s to resist huge Asian offers and keep the three year old racing in Australia in the near future.
“At the moment the owners are enjoying his racing,” Portelli said.
“They have had a lot of horses over the years and he is by far the best.”
“I think he’s the type of horse that could still be racing as a five year old so I hope he stays here.”
Rebel Dane is up against another tough field of three year olds including the Gai Waterhouse trained Proisir and Spring Champion Stakes winner It’s A Dundeel who both finished behind Portelli’s colt in the Hobartville.
And Jim Conlan has brought Australian Guineas winner Ferlax up from Melbourne to chase another Group 1 victory.
Former Kiwi jockey Jason Collet is chasing his first Group 1 win on Rebel Dane after partnering the three year old in his four wins from five starts as well as the close second to Pierro.
Rebel Dane at $2.80 holds a slight margin over Proisir at $3.40 for favouritism in the Randwick Guineas with It’s A Dundeel with the blinkers on for the first time on the next line of betting at $6 with Ferlax rated a $14 chance.