Trainer Gary Portelli is confident that Rebel Dane can bounce back to his best form when he contests the Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on Sunday.
Rebel Dane started his 2013 Spring Racing Carnival campaign with an impressive win in the Group 3 Show County Quality (1200m) at Warwick Farm and went into the Group 3 Bobbie Lewis Quality (1200m) at Flemington as a clear favourite but struggled at his first attempt down the famous straight to finish fourth.
Portelli told Sky Racing HQ that he was disappointed Rebel Dane did not win the race but said he was still able to take a few positives out of the run.
“It wasn’t too bad but when you have a favourite and everybody expects it to win you don’t like to get beaten,” Portelli said.
“He was probably a little closer than what we expected and on the worst ground but you don’t want to make excuses for them at this level.
“No doubt the horse will learn from that and I’m hoping to give him another go down the straight again.”
Portelli said that Rebel Dane has come out of the Bobbie Lewis Quality strongly and based on his performance at trackwork this week believes that the four-year-old is a good chance to record his first win at Group 1 level in the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes, if he receives a bit of luck in the run.
“He worked brilliantly yesterday,” Portelli said.
“He sat behind one of Mick Price’s horses and got up the inside of with about 150 left to go and slipped away from it very comfortably.
“He is right on track for the weekend.
“I think he is going to be competitive it is just going to be about luck in running now.”
The remainder of the spring campaign for Rebel Dane will be decided after he competes on Sunday but Portelli is already eyeing the Group 1 Patinack Farm Classic (1200m) at Flemington on November 9.
“If he can win this weekend there is the Patinack and it would be nice to see him down the straight again in a race like that,” the Sydney-based trainer said.
“If he has luck in running and he can’t win than that is where he is at.”