Trainer Gary Portelli does not have any firm 2015 Spring Racing Carnival plans for Rebel Dane, but he is confident that his star galloper can return to his best form after having a throat operation at the end of his autumn campaign.
Rebel Dane started his 2015 Melbourne Festival Of Racing campaign with a credible sixth in the Group 1 William Reid Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on March 27, but he beat home just two runners in the Group 1 All Aged Stakes (1400m) at Royal Randwick on April 18 and he was found with a completely paralyzed throat when he was scoped at the conclusion of the race.
Portelli told Racing Ahead that Rebel Dane would have struggled to breath in his two race starts during the autumn, but he is confident that the throat operation had been a complete success and he has been happy with the work of the California Dane entire in recent weeks.
“He’s always been a thick-winded horse, he’s always had not the best wind and he’s always made noise, but you can’t really operate on their throat until the larynx is completely paralyzed,” Portelli said.
“He’s a stallion, so he’s very hard to scope, but we got him scoped the next day and his throat wasn’t working at all.
“He only got beaten three lengths twice in Group 1 races and I think they said he only had about 30 per cent of his airway working under full pressure, so hopefully the op looks at this stage it’s pretty successful.
“He’s always been a horse that has made a little bit of noise in his work and there was no noise at all today.
“Hopefully we’re seeing him right back to his brilliant best and if his airway is working better he may even get a little further.”
Portelli is adamant that Rebel Dane will be able to return to his best form during the 2015 Spring Racing Carnival, but he is yet to decide the exact path that the rising six-year-old will follow during his upcoming campaign.
Rebel Dane has contested the Group 1 Manikato Stakes (1200m) and the Group 1 Darley Classic (1200m) the past two years, but Portelli said that he will see how the Group 1 winner responds to fast work before he sets him for a particular race.
“We got him scoped yesterday by my vet and he’s very happy with the way the throat looks, so that gave him more confidence as to what sort of work I should be doing,” Portelli said.
“He’s right to do some fast work, so we thought we’d probably give him another three to four weeks of work and then obviously we’d know where he is fitness-wise and what race will be available at that point, but I’m not setting him for anything because I just want to watch him come along steadily.”
Rebel Dane has accumulated well over $1 million in prizemoney for connections, but he has not recorded a race win since he took out the 2013 edition of the Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m).