Trainer Gary Portelli has confirmed that Rebel Dane will start his 2014 Spring Racing Carnival campaign in the Group 2 Missile Stakes (1200m) at Royal Randwick on August 9.
Rebel Dane spent only two weeks in the spelling paddock following his fast-finishing seventh in the Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) at Eagle Farm on June 7 and Portelli is looking to get the California Dane entire up and running as soon as possible, so that he is ready for a second-up run at Group 1 level in the Memsie Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on August 30.
“He has only had two weeks off and he has lost no fitness whatsoever,” Portelli told Sky Racing HQ.
“He is back in the stable and he looks enormous.
“He is nice and round and happy.
“Realistically nobody wants to take on Lankan Rupee at the moment, if you can help it, and for us to try and win another Group 1 we would like to be in a race that he hasn’t turned up in.
“Our objective was to get him going a bit earlier, space his runs and keep his preparation short, sharp and sweet.
“We thought that we would go to the Missile Stakes first-up and that gives him three weeks, which has been great for him, and he can go to seven furlongs second-up and he will be perfect and spot-on.”
Portelli has been desperately seeking another Group 1 victory with Rebel Dane and the rising five-year-old performed well during his autumn campaign, but was unable to score a race win.
Rebel Dane resumed with a second place finish behind Lankan Rupee in the Group 1 T.J. Smith Stakes (1200m) at Royal Randwick on April 12 and was disappointing in the Group 1 All Aged Stakes (1400m) at Royal Randwick on April 26 before returning to his best form with unlucky runs in both the Group 1 Doomben 10,000 (1350m) in Brisbane on May 24 and the Stradbroke Handicap.
Portelli believes that a tilt at the Memsie Stakes before most of the leading sprinters have returned to racing gives Rebel Dane an excellent opportunity to score his second Group 1 victory against a field that will likely include a number of stayers heading towards races like the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m).
“I am hoping that at that point you have a few of the stayers resuming in the Memsie and some horses that are looking for some other races down the track,” Portelli said.
“He could be the fit horse that is dominant at 1400 in the race and that is the reason for being in a Group 1 so early in the season.
“We will just try and get away with another Group 1 before we have to line up against Lankan Rupee.
“We have four weeks to a trial and then he will go first-up on the eighth.”
Portelli will be having his first runner in the Memsie Stakes since Talgar finished 13th behind Redelva in the 1991 edition of the race.