Trainer Gary Portelli is looking forward to getting his Royal Sovereign Stakes winner Rebel Dane back onto firmer ground when they take on a crack field in the Randwick Guineas 2013 at Warwick Farm Racecourse this Saturday.
The California Dane colt, one of 16 three-year-olds nominated for this weekend’s $500,000 Group 1 Royal Randwick Guineas (1600m), enjoyed a first-up win in the Group 2 Royal Sovereign Stakes (1200m) at Rosehill last month which was their maiden black type success.
They only just failed to go back-to-back on March 2 when finishing a short half-head away second to Gai Waterhouse’s triple Group 1 winner Pierro in the wet for the Group 2 Hobartville Stakes (1400m).
Having come so close to defeating the early 2013 Doncaster Mile favourite Portelli is confident Rebel Dane can add a Group 1 to their record in the absence of headliners Pierro and All Too Hard on their home track this weekend in the Randwick Guineas.
“I’ve never had a horse who can do what he can do,” he said.
“The best horses I’ve had have been one-dimensional. I won an Oaks with Rena’s Lady who was a leader and she ran them off their feet.
“Gold Trail was also a leader and he won a Group One.
“But this fellow has a few strings to his bow. He can race up front, he can come from behind and after the Hobartville we know he can handle a wet track.
“Being at Warwick Farm is also a help. The horses are trained here and they know where the winning post is and that’s what they aim at.”
Portelli’s confidence was further boosted on Tuesday morning when Rebel Dane produced an excellent piece of track work alongside 2013 Golden Slipper-bound All The Talk.
“He worked this morning over 1000 metres on the course proper with All The Talk. There wasn’t much between them but they weren’t there to race each other,” Portelli said on Tuesday.
“They both worked well and came home the last 400 (metres) in 23-1/2 seconds.”
It is shaping up as an intriguing Randwick Guineas too with other notable entries including Australian Guineas winner Ferlax, reigning Spring Champions Stakes victor It’s A Dundeel and the Chris Waller-trained NZ Group 1 winning duo of Sacred Falls and Tougher Than Ever.
Portelli is hoping Rebel Dane can win the Randwick Guineas and convince their current connections to stay on in Australia as opposed to being sold to Asia where offers are coming hard and fast.
“At the moment the owners are enjoying his racing,” Portelli said.
“They have had a lot of horses over the years and he is by far the best.
“I think he’s the type of horse who could still be racing as a five-year-old so I hope he stays here.”
The 2013 Randwick Guineas final field and barriers are due for release on Wednesday with Races.com.au to publish the full list of acceptors and gates.
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