Trainer Gary Portelli has enough reasons to start untapped colt Rebel Dane in a cracking Hobartville Stakes at Rosehill on Saturday.
Unbeaten in four starts Rebel Dane graduates to the premier league where the last season’s champion juvenile Pierro is returning at prohibitive odds.
The group 1 Spring Champion Stakes winner It’s A Dundeel resumes as does Pierro’s promising stablemate Proisir.
“He is taking on the best three-year-old in Australia at this distance,” Portelli said in reference to Gai Waterhouse’s colt Pierro.
“If my horse can beat him, it’ll convince me we’ve got an elite horse. I’ve had some top horses but this could be it, this could be the one, the one every trainer tries to get.”
Who would have thought?
“When he came from the breakers I didn’t have a girth small enough to go round him,” Portelli recalled.
“I had to send him to the paddock, he was that small. We couldn’t race him as a two-year-old, he was not physically strong enough and he went shin sore about three or four times.”
Having trained Rebel Dane’s mother Texarcana Portelli was more than happy to take the son on when Laurel Oak Bloodstock’s team of owners were looking for a trainer.
“This campaign there have been no physical issues with the horse and while he only weighs in at 450 kilos he has certain qualities,” Portelli said.
“He has just got a tremendous will to win and a great turn of foot. That combo gets you a long way in racing.”
Under one time star New Zealand jockey Jason Collett, Rebel Dane rounded up rivals in style to score a first-up win in the Royal Sovereign Stakes at Rosehill a fortnight ago.
“I do think he is better on top of the ground, Jason said he was amazed at how explosive he was,” Portelli said.
“I’m hoping on a wet track tomorrow he may have a little fitness edge on the likes of Pierro and those that are resuming.
“If it becomes a slog over the last 100m he wont be turning it up if he handles the track.
“If he is within a couple of lengths of them at the 200m race fitness could be the difference on the day.”
A day in which Portelli’s juvenile All The Talk, which has won and been placed twice in three outings, runs in the Silver Slipper Stakes.
“Another quality field,” Portelli said.
“The reason I’ve got All The Talk is because I trained his full brother which showed ability as a two-year-old. This one came through the Classic Sale and we got him for $40,000, I thought he was a magnificent colt.
“If it was 1000m I’d say he was over the line tomorrow. He is super quick, does it at both ends, and I’ve trained him as hard as I can to get him fit for this weekend.
“If he runs the 1100m he’ll be hard to beat, he has the right form lines.”
By Craig Young