Rebel Dane dug deep to hold-off Fontelina and Solzhenitsyn in the Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield this afternoon.
The California Dane entire hit the lead with 200 metres left to run but was headed by Fontelina at the 100 metre mark while Solzhenitsyn flew home and loomed as the winner.
Rebel Dane, under heavy riding from Glen Boss, managed to stick his neck out on the line to record his first win at Group 1 level by the narrowest of margins.
Trainer Gary Portelli had set the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes as the major 2013 Spring Racing Carnival for Rebel Dane before he even started his preparation and said after the race that he was relived that the plan had worked out.
“It is a great relief, it is a long straight at Caulfield, he sort of hit the front early and they were coming from everywhere,” Portelli said after the race.
“Bossy has had the belief that this horse was a Group 1 horse, and we were hoping that he was, and he walked out today and said leave it to me.
“It was brilliant how it worked out I think he got cover in the first fifty metres and the rest was history.
“Every trainer in the world wants to win these Group 1 races and it is hard to find these type of horses.”
Boss has talked up Rebel Dane at every opportunity since he rode the four-year-old to victory in a barrier trial at Warwick Farm in June and missed a metropolitan meeting in Melbourne to ride him in the Group 3 Show County Quality (1200m).
The leading jockey admitted that he was disappointed that Rebel Dane was beaten in the Bobbie Lewis Quality (1200m) at Flemington three weeks ago but said he learnt plenty from the defeat, which helped him in the Group 1 event today.
“He won first-up for me really well and he rode him second-up and I told Gary after the race that I learnt a lot more about him getting beaten than I did when I won on him,” Boss said.
“I had him a bit too close on a hot speed that day and it didn’t work out.
“He only got beaten a length and a quarter and he was out of his comfort zone the whole way so that told me the horse was flying.
“Today was all about getting him back in his comfort zone because he has a very good turn of foot when you give him the chance to do it.”
Rebel Dane will have the opportunity to win another Group 1 event this campaign; with the Patinack Farm Classic (1200m) set to be his next race start.
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2013 Sir Rupert Clark Stakes Race Results & Finishing Order
|1||8||REBEL DANE||Gary Portelli||Glen Boss||–||14||55.5kg||$5.50F|
|2||10||FONTELINA||Anthony Cummings||Peter Robl||0.1L||4||55kg||$18|
|3||3||SOLZHENITSYN (NZ)||Robert Heathcote||Nash Rawiller||0.2L||5||57.5kg||$7.50|
|4||9||SPEEDINESS||Colin Scott||Craig Williams||0.4L||13||55.5kg||$11|
|5||1||LINTON||John Sadler||Jamie Mott||1.15L||9||58kg||$21|
|6||4||LUCKYGRAY||Robert Smerdon||Mark Zahra||1.9L||8||57kg||$17|
|7||5||FERLAX (NZ)||Jim Conlan||Stephen Baster||2.1L||3||56.5kg||$8|
|8||7||TEMPLE OF BOOM||Tony Gollan||Nicholas Hall||2.2L||1||56kg||$21|
|9||2||DECEMBER DRAW (IRE)||Mark Kavanagh||Michael Rodd||2.3L||2||57.5kg||$51|
|10||16||DANY THE FOX (NZ)||Mick Price||Dean Yendall||2.7L||7||52kg||$15|
|11||17||MUTUAL TRUST (GB)||Sam Pritchard-Gordon||Chris Symons||3.7L||16||52kg (cd 52.5kg)||$31|
|12||13||YOSEI||Stuart Webb||Ms Michelle Payne||4.7L||15||53.5kg||$51|
|13||18||STRAWBERRY BOY||Peter G Moody||Luke Nolen||5.45L||6||52kg (cd 52.5kg)||$6|
|14||6||BUDRIGUEZ||David Jolly||Darren Gauci||5.95L||12||56kg||$31|
|15||14||BONARIA||Pat Hyland||Michael Walker||7.2L||10||52kg (cd 52.5kg)||$15|
|16||15||THY (NZ)||Peter G Moody||Tim Clark||7.4L||11||52kg||$26|