Despite having no current Queensland experience, Gary Portelli’s classy Sydney raider Rebel Dane has opened early favourite in the pre-field Stradbroke Handicap 2014 odds at bookies around the country.
One of the 100 nominations taken for this year’s $1.36 million Group 1 AAMI Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) Rebel Dane head the latest betting markets on the classic running at Eagle Farm Racecourse on Saturday June 7.
Rebel Dane was invited by the Brisbane Racing Club (BRC) to compete in the Australasian Challenge at this year’s 2014 Channel Seven Brisbane Racing Carnival.
It was an invitation Portelli and connections accepted, keen to make the trip up for a shot at both the $650,000 Group 1 Doomben 10,000 (1350m) on May 24 and the Stradbroke Handicap a fortnight later.
Thrilled to have the BRC fund Rebel Dane’s assault, Portelli has always rated the California Dane stallion a Stradbroke chance.
“The AAMI Stradbroke Handicap is where Australia’s best sprinters will go head to head, and Rebel Dane is definitely a chance,” Portelli told the BRC.
“He’s definitely improved. All he has to do is hold his form and he’ll be a serious contender on Stradbroke Day.
“Some great horses have won the Handicap since it was first run in 1890.
“It’s a race that’s remembered, if things go to plan, Rebel Dane’s name will be added to the history books.”
Set to make their Brisbane debut in the Doomben 10,000, Rebel Dane leads early Stradbroke Handicap betting markets at $7 ahead of the Robert Heathcote-trained Buffering ($8).
A three time Group 1 winning son of Mossman, local hero Buffering shoots for their first elite level on home turf this Saturday in the $400,000 Group 1 BTC Cup (1200m) at Doomben.
If successful they could overtake Rebel Dane in Stradbroke Handicap betting, the now six-year-old having run second to Linton in last year’s race.
The only other single figure chance in Stradbroke markets ahead of this weekend is then Spirit Of Boom ($9), Tony Gollan’s William Reid Stakes champ another BTC Cup hope.
Last seen finishing runner-up to half-brother Temple Of Boom in Brisbane’s Victory Stakes, Spirit Of Boom was third in last year’s Stradbroke.
It’s an effort they’re out to improve on when they line-up in the race for the fourth time this winter.
Next best in betting are then the Chris Waller-trained Emancipation Stakes winning mare Catkins and current BTC Cup favourite Sidestep paying $10.
Phillip Stokes’ Adelaide raider Hucklebuck then follows on $11, the Elvstroem three-year-old last seen running eighth in the Australian Guineas over the Flemington mile at the start of March.
The other best fancied Straddie nominees then include More Than Ready four-year-old Knoydart ($13), reigning Tattersall’s Tiara winner from last winter Red Tracer ($13), Robert Sangster Stakes winner Driefontein ($14) racing in The Goodwood at Morphettville this weekend and Commanding Jewel ($15) who hasn’t raced since September last year.
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