A standout performer over the 2013 Spring Racing Carnival, trainer Gary Portelli has revealed he is pleased with the building form of Group 1 champion Rebel Dane ahead his return in this weekend’s Group 2 Missile Stakes (1200m) at Royal Randwick.
Previously partnered by veteran jockey Glen Boss, Blake Shinn took to the saddle of the five-year-old for a gallop between races at Rosehill Gardens last weekend, capping off Rebel Dane’s preparation for the Missile Stakes.
“He is a horse who gets nervous on race days so it’s good to give him a float trip and a day out,” Portelli told AAP.
“He was worked up in the stalls before his gallop. He’s just that sort of horse.
“The gallop was pleasing but I think Blake may have been a bit conservative after I told him not to get him going early.
“The horse is very fit and is ready to go first-up into the Missile.”
Underling the Group 1 Memsie Stakes (1400m) on August 30th as the first major target this time in, Portelli said early successes will dictate the path beyond for the California Dane entire.
“We will look at his program after the Memsie,” Portelli said.
“He is in good order and the thing I would like most is to draw good barriers. That really hampered him last campaign.”
Winning the Group 3 Show County Quality (1200m) first-up in the spring of 2013, Rebel Dane continued to build in form and class 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.
Finishing second to the world’s leading sprinter Lankan Rupee in the Group 1 T.J. Smith Stakes (1200m) first-up this year on April 12th, Rebel Dane appeared to be well and truly out of sorts when finishing fifth in the Group 1 All Aged Stakes (1400m) a fortnight later, before travelling to Brisbane for fourth in the Group 1 Doomben 10,000 (1350m) and seventh in the featured Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) last time out.
A final field and barrier draw for the 2014 Missile Stakes is due to be released on Wednesday morning.
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