Trainer Gary Portelli is hoping that there is plenty of pace in the 2013 VRC Sprint Classic field, the race formerly known as the Patinack Farm Classic, at Flemington this Saturday, so that his star galloper Rebel Dane can show his impressive turn-of-foot.
Rebel Dane started his 2013 Spring Racing Carnival campaign with an impressive win in the Group 3 Show County Quality (1200m) and, after a disappointing defeat in the Group 3 Bobbie Lewis Quality (1200m), recorded his first Group 1 victory in the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield.
The California Dane entire took on Australia’s leading sprinters in the Group 1 Manikato Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on October 25 and stormed home late to finish fifth after being severely checked at the 600 metre mark.
Portelli was delighted with the four-year-olds performance in the Manikato Stakes and is confident that he can record an ever better result if he receives a bit of luck in the Group 1 VRC Sprint Classic (1200m) at Flemington on Saturday.
“We are hoping for a big field and a genuinely run race and I think you will see the big finish that he has got,” Portelli told Sky Racing HQ.
“Anybody that hasn’t had a look at his run in the Manikato should have a closer look and see how big a run it was because on the point of the turn I thought he was going to run last.
“He was knocked about by Samaready and Arinosa but, fifty yards out, there he was flashing down the outside to get a beaten a length.
“We are up against the same horses and, if it gets an unimpeded run, he can get the job done.”
Rebel Dane started as a clear favourite in the Bobbie Lewis Quality in September but clearly did not handle his first attempt down the famous Flemington straight and finished fourth behind Speediness, Temple Of Boom and Albrecht.
Portelli believes that Rebel Dane took plenty of benefit out of the run and will produce a much improved performance down the straight on Saturday; indicating that jockey Glen Boss will look to ride the Group 1 winner in a much quieter manner.
“Bossy rang me the morning after and said that we have to ride him a lot colder next time and we will see a better result,” Portelli said.
“He just has to be confident and ride him like he is the best horse in the race.
“I know he probably hasn’t earnt that tag yet but he has the best turn-of-foot in the race.
“We just need it to be run truly and that he can wait and just push the button and explode.”
The 2013 VRC Spring Classic field is packed full of talent and Rebel Dane will need to be at his very best to be any chance, with Group 1 winners Lucky Nine, Buffering, Epaulette, Bel Sprinter, Moment Of Change, Shamexpress and Platelet all included in the field, but Portelli said he is just looking forward to seeing where his classy entire rates against the leading sprinters in Australia.
“I don’t think we have seen the best from him yet this horse, he is probably another six months away, but I am really looking forward to finding out where we are in the pecking order for the best sprinters in Australia,” Portelli said.
Lucky Nine is currently the clear favourite in 2013 VRC Spring Classic betting markets at odds of $3.80, while Rebel Dane is available at a price of $11 after being available at $9.50 when the field was first released.