After a smashing first-up win in Sydney over the weekend, Gary Portelli’s progressive stallion Rebel Dane is likely to head to Melbourne next start to gear up for the big Group 1 Victorian sprints this spring.
The four-year-old son of California Dane resumed off a four and a half month spell at Warwick Farm on Saturday showing off their new found maturity and strength win a tidy one and a quarter length win in the Group 3 Show County Quality (1200m).
In the field of polished rivals Rebel Dane was able to get the better of the Joe Pride-trained Title (2nd) and 2013 Cox Plate-bound Group 1 winning mare Norzita (3rd) when ridden by triple Melbourne Cup winning jockey Glen Boss.
Rebel Dane earlier showed their potential as a three-year-old during the autumn winning the Group 2 Royal Sovereign Stakes (1200m) first-up at Rosehill in February.
They had a number of other eye-catching runs that prep too including their nose away second to superstar Pierro in the Group 2 Hobartville Stakes (1400m) in the mud, and their credible fourth to top performing Kiwi It’s A Dundeel in the Group 1 Randwick Guineas (1600m).
Before Saturday’s Show County success, Rebel Dane’s last start was a 10th to Pierro in the Group 1 George Ryder Stakes (1500m) in early April when beaten only two and a half lengths.
Not really showing they could handle the mile back then, Portelli was thrilled with their resuming win and indicated a preference to keep them to the sprint showdowns in Melbourne this season after they came through the Show County in good order.
“Yesterday was a good race for him to prove what he can do and he did a great job so hopefully he can keep improving,” Portelli told TVN’s Racing Review on Sunday.
“We’ll see how he does over the next few days because I want to see him bounce back to the weight he was before he won on Saturday but at this stage there are better races in Melbourne for him.”
He’s looking at a next start for them in the $150,000 Group 3 Bobbie Lewis Quality (1200m) at Flemington on September 7 which would be their interstate debut.
It will be a testing run for them in Melbourne but Portelli is confident the famous Flemington straight would work in their favour.
“In two weeks’ time the Bobbie Lewis is on down the straight and that looks a perfect race for him after watching him yesterday,” Portelli said.
“His best runs have probably been at Rosehill where he’s got that longer straight to balance up and unleash on so I’m looking forward to seeing him down the (Flemington) straight.
“If he’s got plenty of time to balance up he might really open up so I’m looking forward to that.
“He showed on the weekend that he’s on his way, I don’t think he showed he’s there yet but we’ll see what happens over the next few weeks.”
From there other grander options include the newly upgraded $450,000 Group 1 AJ Moir Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on September 27, the lucrative $1 million Group 1 Manikato Stakes (1200m) back at the track on October 25, and Flemington’s $1 million Group 1 Patinack Farm Classic (1200m) during the Melbourne Cup Carnival in early November.
If looking for a little more distance meanwhile Portelli might also consider the Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on September 29.
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