It’s a sad picture painted of Australian breeding when a proven Group 1 stayer can’t find a spot at stud anywhere in the country.
It seems highly unlikely but that’s exactly the scenario which faced Leon Macdonald and his horse Rebel Raider.
If you’re not familiar with the stallion he was the winner of the 2008 Group 1 Victoria Derby as well as the 2009 Group 1 South Australian Derby.
His last run was in September last year when he contested the Makybe Diva Stakes at Flemington.
He finished unplaced and following the race Macdonald says they discovered a problem.
“He ran in the Makybe Diva at Flemington and had a fracture,” he said.
“We elected to retire the horse and find a stallion for him but one wasn’t forthcoming.”
He says while they had the odd offer which was either unsuitable or unrealistic, none of the larger breeding operations wanted anything to do with the horse.
“We were a bit surprised about that but that’s the way it goes,” he said.
“They don’t seem to want to staying stallions in Australia.”
While Macdonald would of course wanted to see Rebel Raider go on to perform well at stud, part of him must be a little bit pleased that the horse is still in the paddock.
After nearly 10 months off his problems appear to have healed and he has the rare opportunity to make a return to the racecourse.
“It was always the plan of the owners to retire him,” Macdonald said.
“(I said) well let’s just try him again and take it day by day.”
So far he’s been running around for about six weeks but they’re yet to really put the pressure on.
“The acid test will come when he really quickens up,” Macdonald said.
He says he didn’t pile on too many kilo’s during his break and at the moment though it’s a case of so far so good.
“He’s great, he did very well in the paddock.”
Macdonald’s other main horse of interest is of course Southern Speed which performed so well in the early part of the year.
“She’s been back two weeks now and going along nicely, only going along quietly at the moment,” he said.
He was pleased with what she showed this season and is expecting even more form her in the spring.
“She did pretty wells seems it was her first preparation so hopefully she’ll come back better this time,” he said.
In terms of a target race he’s aiming her quite high.
“Ideally it’d be the Myer Classic but she’s got to prove to us she’s up to that,” he said.
“A mile at Flemington would be a good trip.”
Macdonald is even not ruling out a potential Cup’s campaign although he concedes everything would have to go perfectly for that to eventuate.
“She’s probably not a 2400m horse, she’ll probably be nominated for the Cups but we’ll see how we go and how we progress.”