Trainer Gary Portelli has revealed that he will be instructing jockey Craig Williams to settle Rebel Dane at the tail of the 2014 Darley Classic field in the early stages of the Group 1 event at Flemington on Saturday.
Rebel Dane has failed to perform at his best in his two previous starts down the Flemington straight, finishing fourth in the Group 3 Bobbie Lewis Quality (1200m) and seventh in the Group 1 VRC Sprint Classic (1200m) during the 2013 Spring Racing Carnival, but Portelli believes that a stone cold ride in the Darley Classic will give the California Dane entire the best possible chance of beating the best sprinters in Australia.
“It is the best sprinters in Australia and I think that it is the best sprinters in the world,” Portelli said.
“If he reproduces his best form, but down the straight he has been a little bit disappointing at both attempts.
“I just feel that we have to ride him a lot colder to get the finish that we need, so we are going to be right out the back and come with a real late run.
“If you look at the race it looks as though it is going to be a leader dominated type of affair and most horses are off-pace horses except for Lankan Rupee and Buffering.
“If they get an easy time early it is going to be tough for horses a long way off them to run them down.
“For a $1 million sometimes some riders do crazy things and hopefully a couple of them put the pressure on the leaders for us.
“I’m hoping to see him flashing home really late.”
Rebel Dane returned to racing after being treated for a foot abscess with a luckless third behind Buffering and Lankan Rupee in the Group 1 Moir Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on September 26 and he once again had very little luck when he flashed home late to finish fourth in the Group 1 Manikato Stakes (1200m) at the same venue on October 24.
Portelli said that Rebel Dane was never fully tested in the Manikato Stakes and he believes that the California Dane entire is going into the 2014 Darley Classic at peak fitness, but will still need a bit of luck to record his first race win in over a year.
“He didn’t have much long so he didn’t have much of a gallop; the only time that he got to gallop was in the last 50 metres and he was going half-paced most of the way,” Portelli said.
“It wasn’t really a hard run and he has come through it pretty well.
“He looks great, he has travelled down well overnight and he is ready to go.
“We just need a lot of luck; this is like the Olympics 100 metres final, it is as good as I have seen for a long time.”
Rebel Dane is currently available at 2014 Darley Classic odds of $17, while Chautauqua ($2.30) remains a clear favourite from Lankan Rupee ($5), Slade Power ($7), Terravista ($11) and Buffering ($14).