Trainer Gary Portelli has revealed that the 2015 William Reid Stakes will likely be the major autumn target for talented sprinter Rebel Dane.
Rebel Dane has been one of the most consistent sprinters in Australia for the last 18 months, but he has been unable to record a race win since he took out the 2013 edition of the Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m), despite producing a string of impressive performances during the 2014 Spring Racing Carnival.
The California Dane entire started his spring preparation with a close third in the Group 2 Missile Stakes (1200m) at Royal Randwick on August 9 and after missing over a month of racing due to a foot abscess he returned with an unlucky third in the Group 1 Moir Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on October 24.
Rebel Dane once again had no luck when he finished fourth in the Group 1 Manikato Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on October 24 and he failed to perform at his best when seventh in the Group 1 Darley Classic (1200m) at Flemington on November 8.
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Portelli is desperate to win another Group 1 event with Rebel Dane and while he would like to set the five-year-old for the $2.5 million Group 1 T.J. Smith Stakes (1200m) he admits that his star galloper may not be good enough to win the feature sprint and has a better chance of returning to winning form in the William Reid Stakes.
“We will more than likely aim up at the William Reid, which is the week before the T.J. Smith unfortunately,” Portelli said.
“It would have been lovely to race him in both, but you would have to think that the William Reid would be slightly weaker and it is all about winning Group 1s.
“It is disappointing not to be in the race worth $2.5 million, but it is all about winning and we need to try and keep him where he can win.
“That is probably where he will be best suited, but you never know and they all need to get to the T.J. Smith too.
“We will keep our ear to the ground and who knows where we will turn up.”
Rebel Dane was sent straight to the spelling paddock following his seventh place finish in the Darley Classic, but has now returned to his Warwick Farm stable to being preparations for his autumn prep.
Portelli has generally had a difficult time keeping weight on Rebel Dane during his racing career, but he said that the Group 1 winner had tacked on some bulk during his stint in the spelling paddock.
“He actually came back in yesterday,” Portelli said.
“He put on 20 kilos while he was out and he is up to just over 500 kilos now, which is really good and something to work with now.”
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