A capacity field of sixteen fillies will line up...
Record-breaking female jockey Clare Lindop was full of praise for Rebel Raider having partnered with the veteran for their first-up spring run at Morphettville last Saturday, the dual Group 1 winner set to embark on another big Melbourne Spring Carnival campaign.
The Leon MacDonald-trained Reset six-year-old Rebel Raider was having their first run in 11 months and showed excellent form in finishing five and a half lengths away fourth behind winner Uxorious in the Group 3 Spring Stakes (1200m) last Saturday at their hometrack.
Lindop, the first Australian female to ride a horse in the Melbourne Cup when finishing 19th to Makybe Diva with Debben in 2003, rode Rebel Raider to victory in last year’s Spring Stakes and believed he was not far off the same form this time round.
“It wasn’t really a day to be making ground from well back, but he and Alcopop (fifth) both got home really well,” Lindop said.
“It really is a case of one race at a time with him, but he’s come out of the run pretty well.”
Having been in the mount for all but four of Rebel Raider’s 21 career starts to date, which have produced over $1.4 million in earnings, Lindop had the pleasure of riding them to victory for both of their Group 1 titles.
First the pair combined to take out the 2008 AAMI Victoria Derby during the Melbourne Cup Carnival three years ago before going on to win the Group 1 SA Derby (2500m) at Morphettville in May of 2009 by an emphatic four lengths.
Rebel Raider missed the Melbourne Spring Carnival in 2009 due to injury and had their campaign cut short last year when on the back of their Spring Stakes success they travelled to Flemington and failed to beat home all but one other horse when finishing over 14 lengths away 15th behind 2009 Melbourne Cup winner Shocking in the Group 2 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m).
Suffering a crack to their seasamoid in the Makybe Diva Stakes, Rebel Raider was at the time retired to serve at stud.
Without an appropriate stud agreement on hand, however, connections made the brave choice to bring Rebel Raider back to the races in an attempt to increase his value as a stallion, Rebel Raider already a strong stallion prospect thanks especially to their Victoria Derby win.
“A win at a mile or 2000 metres at Group level would do wonders for his stud career and that is the aim,” Lindop said.
The Victoria Derby success with Rebel Raider came two years after Lindop became the first female hoop in Australia to ride a Group 1 winner when she scored the 2006 Adelaide Cup win aboard Exalted Time.
She is now a four-time Group 1 winning jockey and should Rebel Raider continue to show form over his coming races, Lindop may get the chance to add to that this season with Rebel Raider to be nominated for the ‘Big Three’ spring features.
Connections last week paid the nomination fee for Rebel Raider in the $2.5 million Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) on October 15 and the $3 million Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on October 22, the plan also being to enter the stayer for the 2011 Melbourne Cup when nominations for the $6 million Flemington showpiece are taken next month.
“He’s entered for the Caulfield Cup, Cox Plate and Melbourne Cup but his form will be assessed after each run to see if he progresses to those races or goes for the Country Cups,” Lindop said.
At this stage the likely next-up run for both Rebel Raider and fellow Melbourne Cup-bound Alcopop will be the $80,000 Listed Penny Edition Stakes (1400m) at Morphettville on August 20.
It will be a case of take-two for both gallopers in the race as Rebel Raider ran third in the 2009 Penny Edition Stakes while beaten 2009 Melbourne Cup favourite Alcopop finished fifth to Spacecraft in last year’s race.
Following the Penny Edition Stakes Rebel Raider will head interstate with another shot at the $300,000 Group 2 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) at Flemington on September third a possibility.
“I’ve won two Group Ones on him and it would be nice to think he hasn’t finished yet,” Lindop said.
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