There’s no denying three-year-old Rebel Dane’s talent but questions are still being asked as to whether he is up to the 1600m of the $2 million 2013 Doncaster Mile on April 20.
More will be known about the Gary Portelli-trained colt after this weekend when he takes on star galloper Pierro in the Group 1 2013 George Ryder Stakes (1500m).
While he has a lightweight of 52kg for the Doncaster, what jockey Craig Williams says about his performance this weekend will ultimately determine his future direction.
“If Craig doesn’t think he can get a strong mile and doesn’t want to ride him in it, then that will probably tell us what we do,” Portelli told AAP.
Rebel Dane has met Pierro once before, with the four-time Group 1 winner narrowly defeating him in the Group 2 Hobartville Stakes.
That performance led Rebel Dane to start as an odds-on favourite in the Randwick Guineas but he failed to show his usual sprint in his first test at the mile and finished in fourth position.
But whether it was a lack of ability to run the 1600m or getting caught on suspect inside ground that cost him on that day remains unknown.
Rebel Dane is a second favourite for the George Ryder at $7, with Pierro the odds-on $1.60 top elect.
Portelli described Pierro as “one of the best three-year-olds we’ve seen” and said he’d be “rapt” if his charge could pressure Gai Waterhouse’s number one horse as he did in the Hobartville.
Also prominent in the George Ryder field are Shoot Out ($8.50), Solzhenitsyn ($13) and Veyron ($21).
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