Trainer Gary Portelli will keep Rebel Dane to a sprinting program in the Spring starting with the Group 3 $125,000 Show County Quality (1200m) at Warwick Farm on Saturday.
Rebel Dane showed he was not far off Group 1 level in the Autumn and Portelli is willing to test the California Dane four year old at the highest level.
Portelli was very excited after Rebel Dane put in an outstanding effort with a last to first win in the Group 2 $175,000 Royal Sovereign Stakes (1200m) at Rosehill on February 16 then ran Pierro to a head when second in the Group 2 $200,000 Hobartville Stakes (1400m) at Rosehill on March 2.
While Portelli is confident he will measure up to Group 1 company and is happy with his progress, he knows that he has to go out and prove it to be competitive in races like the Group 1 $1m Sportingbet Manikato Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on October 25 and the Group 1 $1m Patinack Farm Classic (1200m) at Flemington on November 9.
“I’m very happy with where he is at and looking forward to seeing him back at the races on Saturday,” Portelli told Racing Network.
“I think about 1400m is as far as we will go with him, if he is going to stand up and be a Group 1 horse I think that is his best chance or in a fast run 1100m where they fly and he can finish strong.”
“He is still a long way from proving he is a genuine Group 1 horse. I know he got close to Pierro one day but Gai’s horse was not fully wound up and still beat us.:
Portelli took Rebel Dane to Rosehill on Saturday to gallop in between races and was happy with what he saw.
Top Sydney jockey Hugh Bowman was keeping the saddle warm for Glen Boss, who will take the mount in the Show County, and reported back to Portelli that the work was first class.
“Hugh Bowman got off him and said he feels like a serious horse and he’d be available if Bossy can’t ride for whatever reason so that is always a good sign,” Portelli said.
Saturday won’t be the first time Boss will be on Rebel Dane’s back.
The big race jockey made a special trip to Sydney on July 26 and rode the smart sprinter to win a 795m barrier trial at Warwick Farm.
Rebel Dane is having his first start since finishing tenth behind Pierro in the Group 1 $400,000 The Daily Telegraph George Ryder Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill on April 6 and is one of twenty-two nominations for the Show County Quality which is littered with several Group 1 winners.
Trainer Guy Walter has entered his Autumn star Appearance while other Group 1 winners include the Chris Waller trained Metal Bender and Sacred Falls, Norzita from the Bart and James Cummings stable and the Kelso Wood trained Sizzling from Queensland.