Trainer Gary Portelli has confirmed that classy sprinter Rebel Dane will head into the Group 1 Patinack Farm Classic (1200m) at Flemington on November 9 without a lead-up run.
Rebel Dane broke through for his maiden win at Group 1 level in the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield yesterday but Portelli is set to avoid the temptation of running the California Dane entire in the Group 1 Manikato Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on October 25 so that he can have the four-year-old in peak condition for the $1 million race on Emirates Stakes Day.
“I will talk with the owners first but at this stage my gut feeling is to just back off,” Portelli told Racing Ahead.
“We said all along that were going to space his runs and keep all his condition on and five weeks into that won’t be a problem.
“We may have the opportunity to jump down the straight on the Tuesday to give him another look down the straight.
“1200 metres is a walk in the park, he will run that out very easily, and I just need to have him right on the day.
“My gut feeling is that he isn’t a Moonee Valley type horse anyway so I wouldn’t like to run him there in the Manikato at this point.”
Rebel Dane was forced to draw on all his toughness to win the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes in a photo finish from Fontelina and Solzhenitsyn yesterday and Portelli admitted that he believed his star galloper had been headed by Fontelina in the final stages of the race.
“I was standing right on the line and I thought that fifty yards from the line Fontelina had kicked clear but I saw on the line that he ducked his little head out,” Portelli said.
“He doesn’t win by far, that has been a thing if you look at all his form, he just gets there on the line like he knows where the winning post is.”
There has been some speculation that Portelli would embark on an overseas trip with Rebel Dane after the 2014 Autumn Racing Carnival but the Sydney-based trainer, who took Golden Trails to Royal Ascot in 2010, said that he is still taking it one step at a time with the four-year-old.
“I am not but I’m sure the owners are,” Portelli said when asked about a possible international tilt.
“I am just taking it one race at a time with this horse but I know Louie Mihalyka (co-owner) takes a planeload of people over to Royal Ascot every year and I’m sure he would love to have a runner.
“We will just take it as we go.”
Recent history is against Rebel Dane in the Patinack Farm Classic as no horse has completed the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes/Patinack Farm Classic double since Anonyme in 1961.