Trainer Gary Portelli is keeping his fingers crossed talented sprinter Rebel Dane will be allocated a good barrier for the 2014 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m), believing the key to success for the four-year-old lies in his start.
Unlucky to finish fourth when caught in poor position during the featured Group 1 Doomben 10,000 (1350m) last time out, Portelli told Sky Racing his is sure Rebel Dane would have finished in the clear had he been offered the same start as eventual champion Spirit Of Boom.
“He works on Eagle Farm and I think that is obviously the track that will suit him,” Portelli said.
“With the big field, they get 18 runners I think with the Stradbroke, there will be a genuine tempo on, but again, we need to draw a good barrier so this horse can posy up.
“He is a tricky horse to ride and he has only ever won his races by small margins – most of the time he has just got there in time – so you really have to be on your game.
“That is the next thing, just waiting for that barrier draw to come out.”
Contesting an impressive record of six races victories and a further two minor places from just 15 competitive starts to date, Rebel Dane was a standout performer over the spring of 2013; winning the Group 3 Show County Quality (1200m) first-up and continuing to build in form and experience on his way to a maiden victory at the highest level of Australian racing in the Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m) on September 29th.
Returning to the track in similarly competitive form this season, the California Dane entire finished second to the world’s leading sprinter Lankan Rupee in the Group 1 T.J. Smith Stakes (1200m) first-up before finishing an unlucky fifth when caught in the pack in the Group 1 All Aged Stakes (1400m) on April 26th in his only other appearance prior to the Doomben 10,000.
Charged with carrying 56kgs on June 7th, Rebel Dane is currently sole occupant of the second line of betting for success in the 2014 Stradbroke Handicap at a quote of $6.
Aiming for a sixth consecutive race win in what will be her first appearance at Group 1 level, Srikandi is currently featured as outright favourite to win the 2014 Stradbroke Handicap.
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