Trainer Gary Portelli is giving his classy sprinter Rebel Dane a great chance of winning the Group 1 HK$18.5m Longines Hong Kong Sprint (1200m) at Sha Tin on December 11.
Rebel Dane was invited to run in the International Sprint after winning the Group 1 $1m Manikato Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on October 21 and Portelli said if he was able to draw descent barrier he was in with a great chance.
“He certainly can (win) if he draws a good gate,” Portelli told RSN’s Racing Ahead.
“Because of his racing pattern with a short sharp sprint now and if he can be just behind them at the right time, three sets back getting an easy run he can certainly win. I have no doubt about that.”
Portelli gave Rebel Dane a short freshen up since his Manikato Stakes win but the seven year old showed that he is all tuned up to go with a pleasing barrier trial win at Rosehill today.
Rebel Dane finished too strongly for Team Snowden’s smart sprinter That’s A Good Idea to record a long neck win in the 1000m barrier trial and Portelli was very happy with the hit out.
“On Cloud nine. It was as good a trial as you would want to see from a horse going into a big race,” Portelli said.
“He was up against a pretty handy horse in That’s A Good Idea. I thought he might be too sharp for us but our bloke, he dragged himself down the outside of it and went past it nicely.”
“We weren’t out to have a hard trial and he was still able to beat it. He is going well.”
“He has come on since the win and I think confidence is high with him and we are confident ourselves.”
Rebel Dane was able to get a good run just off the pace from a good barrier draw when he won the Maniakto Stakes and he is hoping for a similar result in Hong Kong.
“The barrier draw is going to be where it will make or break you and that was a big positive for us when we went to the Manikato, we had the right run for a change,” Portelli said.
The Manikato Stakes was Rebel Dane’s second Group 1 win, his other being his win in the 2013 $400,000 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield and he has proved himself at the top level with several Group 1 placings over his long career.
“He has raced against the best that have been around in his era,” Portelli said.
“If you look at the horses he has raced against. Some of them have come and gone.”
“He has run second to Lankan Rupee when he was at his top. We have been a bit unlucky when we have had him spot on and we have run into some of the best horses around and when we have been favourite there has been excuses.”
“Sometimes he had drawn poor gates, had to go wide, make long runs.”
Rebel Dane is the winner of eight of his thirty-six starts plus nine placings and has earned just of $2.4m in prizemoney and bonuses.