Rebel Dane impressed trainer Gary Portelli with his final serious hit-out before he returns to the races in the 2016 Australia Stakes at Moonee Valley on Saturday.
Rebel Dane missed out on an exhibition gallop at Royal Randwick last weekend and Portelli instead opted to put his star galloper through his paces at Warwick Farm this morning.
Portelli told Racing Ahead that Rebel Dane worked strongly over 800 metres and he is delighted with the physical condition of the California Dane entire ahead of the Australia Stakes this weekend.
“He had a really nice gallop this morning and I was really pleased to see him have this gallop and recover so quickly,” Portelli said.
“We are very keen for the weekend now.
“We worked him over half a mile, we don’t work him too hard because he is a pretty light-framed horse and he just quickened up from the 600.
“I just liked the way that when his usual trackwork rider gave him a little bit of a squeeze at the 100, he got down and really showed a good turn-of-foot and flew through the winning post.
“It was a really good gallop.”
Rebel Dane is yet to record a race win at Moonee Valley, but he has performed well without winning at the venue and finished in the placings in the Group 1 Moir Stakes (1200m) in 2014 and the Group 1 Manikato Stakes (1200m) during the 2015 Spring Racing Carnival.
Portelli said that he deliberately set Rebel Dane for the Australia Stakes in order to avoid the likes of Chautauqua, Terravista and Buffering, but he admits that the six-year-old will still need some luck in running to take out the Group 2 event.
“He has been up against the best sprinters that we have got and we thought that we might get in a little bit early this preparation before Chautauqua, Terravista and the likes are wound up,” Portelli said.
“We might have found a slightly easier race.
“It still looks like a very strong race on the weekend and it won’t be the walk in the park that you would hope for, but the Valley is a tricky track and things need to go your way.”
Rebel Dane is set to press on to the Group 1 Orr Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on February 13 and the Group 1 Futurity Stakes (1400m) at the same venue on February 27 before he returns to Sydney for a tilt at the Group 1 T.J. Smith Stakes (1200m) at Royal Randwick on April 2.