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Dual Derby winner Rebel Raider is back on the hunt for a Melbourne Cup win this season following their withdrawal due to injury last year and will have their first-up spring start this Saturday.
Reset five-year-old Rebel Raider was one of the early fancies for last year’s Melbourne Cup, won by the Mark Kavanagh-trained Shocking, but missed the race after suffering a leg injury less than 24 hours after the weights for the Flemington feature were announced in September.
Trainer Leon Macdonald has said Rebel Raider is back to peak fitness, however, and will resume racing on Saturday in the $115,000 Group 3 Spring Stakes (1200m) at Morphettville.
Having undergone surgery to amend the injured leg and given a short two-race autumn campaign, 2008 Victoria Derby winner Rebel Raider is fresh and ready for a run in the $6 million Melbourne Cup.
Macdonald had originally planned to give Rebel Raider his first start in the Listed Penny Edition (1400m) next week, but the horse was in such top form this weekend’s Spring Stakes became the choice.
Working best over 1400m and above, the Spring Stakes may be too short and fast for Rebel Raider but he still looks well placed to finish in the money.
Following the Spring Stakes, Rebel Raider will start in the Penny Edition on August 21 and then move to Melbourne for the weight-for-age races leading up to the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups.
To date Rebel Raider has enjoyed five wins from 18 starts for $1,330,740 in prizemoney and is looking set to increase his earnings this Spring Carnival Racing season.
Rebel Raider is one of 256 nominations for the 150th Melbourne Cup, scheduled as Race 7 at Flemington on Tuesday November 2.
In the ante-post Melbourne Cup betting markets Rebel Raider has opened at the generous price of $31 through Ladbrokes.com.au.
Last year’s Melbourne Cup winner Shocking is one of the favourites to make it back-to-back wins paying $16 and will also start first-up this Saturday in the Group 2 JJ Liston Stakes at Caulfield alongside 2010 Cox Plate favourite Shoot Out and Bart Cummings’ So You Think.
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