Trainer Gary Portelli is hoping for a good All Aged Stakes 2016 barrier draw for his Group 1 winner Rebel Dane after the stallion’s autumn has been marred by bad gates in Sydney.
The six-year-old son of California Dane is looking to return to his best in Saturday’s $600,000 Group 1 Schweppes All Aged Stakes (1400m), which attracted 13 nominations on Monday, after his first elite level win since the 2016 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes in Melbourne.
Among the entries is Rebel Dane, looking for his first win since the Group 2 The Shorts (1100m) at the track in September last year.
He finished in the money twice more that campaign, including his third to Chautauqua in the Group 1 Manikato Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley, and again first-up at the same track when third to Holler in the Group 2 Australia Stakes (1200m).
The stallion has been unplaced since, but was brave in the two Group 1 1400m Caulfield races in February beaten only 1.35 and 1.65 lengths respectively in the CF Orr Stakes (5th) and Futurity Stakes (4th).
Portelli admits that his two runs during the Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival after that have been “disastrous” thanks to horror barrier draws.
“Hopefully we can finally draw a good gate because the horse is in absolutely superb order,” Portelli told AAP.
“It’s been a bit of a disastrous preparation as far as barriers go, but I don’t think I’ve ever had him this far into a preparation looking so well.”
Two back Rebel Dane ran 10th to Griante from gate 13 of 14 in Rosehill’s Group 1 The Galaxy (1100m), before a last start ninth from the outside alley (15 of 15) in the Group 1 TJ Smith Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on Day 1 of ‘The Championships’.
“In the TJ Smith we drew 15 and we thought we’d go forward and try to get into a good spot. We never got closer than six off the fence,” Portelli explained.
He’s up in distance for Saturday’s weight-for-age classic after this third win from 10 1400m runs to date and also has his original jockey Jason Collett back in the saddle in place of Damien Oliver.
Collett rode Rebel Dane for his first six starts from September 2012 – March 2013 including the horse’s fourth to It’s A Dundeel in the Group 1 Randwick Guineas (1600m) as the beaten favourite.
He’s not been aboard since, but Portelli is hoping he can pick up where he left off three years ago and get $1.7 million earner Rebel Dane back to winning form.
“We started off with Jason and we’re hoping the combination can kick us back into the winning form he used to be in,” Portelli said.
Collett’s major ride on the All Aged Stakes Day card though is aboard the odds-on favourite Yankee Rose in the $500,000 Group 1 Champagne Stakes (1600m).
He rode David Vandyke’s filly to victory in her first two starts at Rosehill in the spring before being replaced by Zac Purton who was aboard for the star juvenile’s Golden Slipper second and Inglis’ Sires win this season.
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