Border Rebel will be looking to turn around his poor form from the Stradbroke Handicap, when he lines up in search of a second consecutive Takeover Target Stakes at Gosford on Friday.
Border Rebel won the race in controversial fashion last year when he was ridden by apprentice Tim Bell.
Kerrin McEvoy fell from the Peter Snowden trained Skytrain in last year’s Takeover Target Stakes, and while stewards found that the fall was accidental, Bell was suspended for three weeks as it was found that he elbowed McEvoy earlier in the race.
Bell has since transferred from Border Rebel’s trainer Sue Grills to Kelly Schweida in Brisbane, which has opened the door for Tim Clark to take the ride on Border Rebel.
Grills remains confident that Border Rebel can produce in the Takeover Target Stakes, despite his less than impressive run in the Stradbroke.
“He got too far back in the Stradbroke. Everyone thought there was something wrong with him but he just drifted back and copped a buffeting after the 200m,” Grills said.
“He’s never raced that far back in the field before. He didn’t know what was going on. He’s good now, he’s done well and there’s nothing wrong with him.”
Border Rebel has drawn gate 2 for the Takeover Target Stakes, and will again be forced to lug 58.5kgs, the same weight he won with last year.
Odds on favourite for the race, Squamosa drew the inside barrier and will have to carry 55.5kgs. Skytrain is also back for another tilt at the Takeover Target Stakes, and will jump from barrier six. Interestingly, McEvoy has decided against riding the horse this time round.
Last year Border Rebel won the Takeover Target Stakes at the fourth start of his campaign. He will also be racing for the fourth time since he was spelled on Friday, however his most recent campaign has been one of the toughest he has faced.
Last year Border Rebel raced in Scone and in lesser races in the Brisbane carnival before heading to Gosford. This time in he has been racing in Group One company, and it is yet to be seen what effects tough runs in the Stradbroke and Doomben 10,000 have done to the horse fitness wise.
If he pulls up okay from the run in the Takeover Target Stakes, Border Rebel will more than likely target the Ramornie Handicap at Grafton in July.
Border Rebel is a firm second pick in the race at $8.50. The Gai Waterhouse trained Squamosa is all the rage at $1.60.