Trainer Gary Portelli believes that Rebel Dane is spot on for his return to racing in the 2014 Moir Stakes at Moonee Valley on Friday night.
Rebel Dane started his 2014 Spring Racing Carnival campaign with a credible third in the Group 2 Missile Stakes (1200m) at Royal Randwick on August 9, but has since been kept away from the races due to a stone bruise.
Portelli said last month that Rebel Dane may be unable to return to the races until the Group 1 Manikato Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on October 24, but he RSN this morning that the California Dane entire had done extremely well in the past fortnight and is in great shape heading into the Group 1 Moir Stakes (1400m) this weekend.
“He is in great order,” Portelli said.
“We had a few problems a few weeks ago where he got a stone bruise up here in Sydney and we had to back off and sort that out.
“We were actually going to aim at the Manikato, but he has done so well that we thought we would throw him in the Moir and have a crack at the Moir.
“We have him pretty close to the mark.
“I am looking forward to Friday night, it is going to be a tough little race, but it is nice to be in it and there is a lot of prizemoney.”
Rebel Dane recorded his maiden win at Group 1 level when he took out the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes over 1400 metres a year ago, but the Warwick Farm-based trainer said that he was happy to skip the race at Caulfield on Sunday and concentrate on the Moir Stakes.
Portelli admits that Rebel Dane recorded the biggest win of his career over 1400 metres, but believes that 1200 metres is the best distance for the five-year-old – as long as the race doesn’t develop into a sit and sprint affair.
“He has some good form over 1200,” Portelli said.
“He ran second to Lankan Rupee second-up last campaign in the T.J. (Smith) and that was probably his best run ever.
“He obviously won the Sir Rupert Clarke, but he just got there and he wouldn’t have liked there to be a couple more strides.
“He stretches himself to the 1400, but he has to be right at his peak to run it and he needs a really fast run race, so he can get over a couple of horses that have done a lot of work.
“It doesn’t really suit him when they walk and sprint and that is what I am hoping that we don’t see on Friday night.
“I hope there is good pressure in this race and the finishes can finish on.”
Rebel Dane is currently available at 2014 Moir Stakes odds of $9, while Lankan Rupee ($1.75) is a clear favourite from Angelic Light ($5) and Buffering ($6).