Melbourne premiership jockey Glen Boss walked away from the Rosehill barrier trials a happy man today even though he didn’t ride a winner.
Boss’ only ride was the Gary Portelli trained Rebel Dane who is shaping up well for a first up tilt at the Group 1 $2.5m Darley T J Smith Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on April 12.
On a heavy track, Rebel Dane went to the line strongly to run second to Zaratone over 900m and Boss said he is spot on to tackle the cream of Australia’s sprinters on the first day of ‘The Championships’.
“The ground was pretty soft, pretty ordinary ground to trial on unfortunately, which is not his go as he’s not really a soft track horse, but it was a good trial,” Boss told Racing Network.
“I was really happy with him, he looks great and pulled up really well. All good signs.”
From four rides on Rebel Dane, Boss has recorded two wins, including a nose victory over Fontelina and Solzhenitsyn in last Spring’s Group 1 $400,000 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield, and rates the California Dane stallion up with the best sprinters in the land.
“He’s a genuine horse, a proper sprinter. He’s a better horse than he was last spring, the only real time he failed was when he went down the straight,” Boss said.
Portelli is also content with the progress of Rebel Dane whom he says has matured a lot since this last preparation in the Spring.
“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.”
Rebel Dane has an impeccable first up record with three wins from three attempts and this has also prompted Portelli to go into the T J Smith Stakes fresh.
Portelli sent Rebel Dane to the paddock after finishing seventh behind Buffering in the Group 1 $1m VRC Sprint Classic (1200m) at Flemington on November 9 but Boss said the four year old just couldn’t handle the straight Flemington course.
“He was terrible down the straight, he had no idea. The rest of his prep was great,” Boss said.
Rebel Dane is currently rated a $12 chance in the Ladbrokes.com.au T J Smith Stakes market order which has dual Group 1 winner Lankan Rupee the $3.60 favourite for the weight for age sprint.
Buffering is the second pick at $6.50 ahead of Zoustar at $7, Irish sprinter Gordon Lord Byron at $9 and Snitzerland at $10 while last start Group 1 winners Spirit Of Boom and Steps In Time are both at $14.