Trainer Gary Portelli will look to strike early this Sydney Spring Racing Carnival and bag a Group 1 win in the Memsie 2014 with his smart stallion Rebel Dane before triple Group 1 winner Lankan Rupee returns.
Mick Price’s Redoute’s Choice gelding Lankan Rupee is undefeated in their past six starts including a trio of Group 1 wins, most recently over Rebel Dane in the TJ Smith Stakes at Randwick on April 12.
Rebel Dane was two lengths off the Oakleigh Plate – Newmarket Handicap double champ that day, and Portelli isn’t keen to come up against the Horse of the Year nominee again next time in.
Instead he will bring his rising five-year-old son of California Dane back early during the carnival and attempt to get a couple under their hat before Lankan Rupee is back.
Rebel Dane is also a Group 1 winner having taken out the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield in September of 2013 before finishing fifth and seventh respectively behind Brisbane sprint star Buffering in the Manikato Stakes and VRC Sprint Classic.
First-up this year was then their TJ Smith Stakes second in April before they continued on for three more Group 1 runs.
The best of those was their fourth from a wide barrier to the Tony Gollan-trained Spirit Of Boom in Brisbane’s Doomben 10,000 on May 24 where they were three quarters off the winner.
Their last start was then at Eagle Farm on June 7 where another bad barrier (18 of 18) got the better of them in the Stradbroke Handicap where they could only manage to finish two lengths away seventh to River Lad in a brave late effort.
Portelli then is looking forward to their new season return, Rebel Dane not quite forward enough yet to feature in the Gai Waterhouse-dominated Randwick trials this Friday.
While Waterhouse will give a host of her spring hopes a hitout this week including 2014 Melbourne Cup favourite The Offer who won three on the trot during the autumn including the Sydney Cup over 3200m, Portelli will give Rebel Dane a little more time.
He’s looking at a first-up run though in the $175,000 Missile Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on August 9 before heading to the $400,000 Group 1 Memsie Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield in Melbourne at the end of the month.
“I’m looking to have him ready second-up into the Memsie Stakes,” Portelli told The Daily Telegraph yesterday.
“I’d like to have a go at a Group 1 race before Lankan Rupee is racing.”
Lankan Rupee meanwhile isn’t expected to return until September 6 at Moonee Valley in the $200,000 Group 2 McEwen Stakes (1000m).
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