Jockey Blake Shinn has described the allocated barrier four draw for his mount in Saturday’s Missile Stakes 2014 at Royal Randwick as the ideal starting position for the returning Group 1 winner.
A final field of nine resuming spring stars is up against each other first-up in the $175,000 Group 2 McGrath Estate Agents Missile Stakes (1200m) where the Gary Portelli-trained Rebel Dane is now co-favourite to win.
The California Dane five-year-old pays $3.70 in the latest Ladbrokes.com.au Missile Stakes betting markets, now at an equal price with fellow first-up specialist Sweet Idea (out from $3.60).
While Gai Waterhouse’s ultra-consistent mare Sweet Idea has barrier seven, Rebel Dane should get a gun run from gate four as they look to win their first race since September last year.
Back then they broke through at elite level at Caulfield with a narrow victory over Fontelina in the Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m).
Competitive early in their autumn return when a first-up second to Lankan Rupee in the Group 1 TJ Smith Stakes (1200m) at Randwick in April, their trip to Brisbane later ended in disappointment.
Beaten under a length from a wide draw in a brave Doomben 10,000 fourth in May their last start was a seventh to Sunshine Coast galloper River Lad in the Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m).
While on paper that result looks poor, they had barrier 18 of 18 to overcome and had too much work to do in what was still a very good run.
A close third in an 800m Warwick Farm trial in late July has kept them going and now they’ll tackle the Missile with Shinn confident the better barrier than on Stradbroke Day gives them every chance.
Shinn galloped the horse with a nice run between races at Rosehill last weekend, Rebel Dane putting in some pleasing work to prove their fitness rolling in the final 400m in 24.14 seconds.
“He wasn’t out there to break any records but he felt good, it was a nice gallop and I think he will be hard to beat on Saturday,” Shinn told TVN on Wednesday.
The hoop now rides them under race conditions for the first time on Saturday and said the Missile Stakes looked like the “perfect race” for Rebel Dane.
“It looks a perfect race for him, especially drawn a nice barrier, should get a good run,” he said.
“I don’t think he has to go too far back, he can utilise the barrier, camp off them and then use his devastating sprint.”
After Saturday plans are to go to Victoria for the $400,000 Group 1 Memsie Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on August 30 kicking off their Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival campaign.
To get behind Rebel Dane in the Missile Stakes and access all the best spring futures markets visit Ladbrokes.com.au and open your account with the country’s best bookie!