A rising six-year-old and six-time winner on the track, Rebel Raider was retired from racing during the spring of last year after failing to perform in the Group 2 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) at Flemington on September 4, the later found to have fractured a sesamoid.
In what later looked to be the son of Zabeel stallion Reset’s swansong start, Rebel Raider finished over 14 lengths away 15th behind winner and former Melbourne Cup conqueror Shocking in the Makybe Diva Stakes.
The failure came just two runs into their spring prep, Rebel Raider having previously won the Group 3 Spring Stakes (1200m) at Morphettville in August.
Over a 20-start career, Rebel Raider produced mixed results but was a very valuable stud prospect having saluted in two thoroughbred majors.
The horse won their maiden elite level when defeating weight-for-age star Whobegotyou by a decisive margin in the Group 1 Victoria Derby (2500m) back in 2008.
A number of Group assignments followed, Rebel Raider disappointing in many including his 17th place finish behind Metal Bender beating home just one other runner in the 2009 Randwick Guineas and also being well-beaten by Metal Bender next start when 11th in the 2009 Rosehill Guineas.
Better form and results followed when Rebel Raider travelled back home to Perth where their second Group 1 win came in the 2009 SA Derby (2500m).
Now Rebel Raider is back in work for trainer Leon McDonald, having returned to his Morphettville stable six weeks ago.
“The owners couldn’t find the right home for him so he is back in the stable and has been in work for about six weeks,” McDonald, who co-trains in partnership with Andrew Gluyas, confirmed.
“There was interest from several studs but it was a question of finding the right one to give him a chance as a stallion.
“When that didn’t happen they decided to put him back in work rather than leave him just standing in a paddock.”
Despite having shown the ability to stay, injury has previously prevented Rebel Raider from running in the most prestigious staying showdown of them all, the iconic Melbourne Cup at Flemington in November.
Although there are whispers of a Melbourne Cup campaign this year or next for the resuming Rebel Raider, McDonald was quick to give a reality check.
“He is up to doing even time, but I’m not getting carried away,” he said.
“The proof will be whether the ligaments hold to the sesamoid once he is put under pressure.
“But he looks good, the X-rays are good, the vets are happy so we will see what happens.
“He will be nominated (for the Melbourne Cup) but he is in a different category this year in that he no longer qualifies on his past performances.
“I’m not holding my breath, he will get there but everything is going well.”
While the failure to find a fitting home for Rebel Raider may prove to be a blessing in disguise, his half-brother Shamoline Warrior has been confirmed to stand at New Zealand’s Bluegables Stud this spring.
The Shamardal four-year-old shares the same dam as Rebel Raider, Dehere mare Picholine, Shamoline Warrior having started 12 times over his career under the preparation of Melbourne Cup-winner trainer Mark Kavanagh for three wins and two minor placings earning $205,357 in total prize money.
Two of his hat-trick of wins were black-types, Shamoline Warrior having won the Listed UCI Stakes (1800m) at Flemington in October 2009 before taking out the Group 3 Norman Robinson Stakes (2000m) at their next start at Caulfield on October 17 of that year.