Rebel Dane to take the weight in Missile

Rebel Dane is the highest-rated horse in the Group Two Missile Stakes but trainer Gary Portelli is under no illusions how tough the race will be.

Mount Nebo was added to the nominations on Tuesday, bringing the number of entries to eight but Ramornie Handicap winner Smart Volatility is expected to to head to Melbourne to run in the Aurie’s Star Handicap.

Trained by Allan Denham, Mount Nebo won the Winter Dash on June 25 before his close fifth in the Listed Ramornie and fifth again in the July Sprint.

The stumbling block for Saturday’s Missile Stakes runners is the presence of Golden Slipper winner Capitalist who is lining up for his first start as a three-year-old.

He carries just 51.5kg with Kerrin McEvoy to ride.

But Portelli is committed to running Rebel Dane who boasts four wins fresh and two minor placings from seven first-up runs.

He is also hoping Rebel Dane’s experience will kick in if Capitalist shows any chinks in his armour in the tough weight-for-age arena.

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“Rebel Dane has finally grown and is bigger and hopefully stronger than he’s ever been,” Portelli said.

“It’s unfortunate to run into Capitalist first-up but Rebel Dane is ready to race so we’ll go to Randwick.

“It will be hard with the seven kilo weight difference between him and Capitalist but I’m very happy with him.

The Peter and Paul Snowden-trained Capitalist has won four of his five starts with his only defeat when second to Kiss And Make Up in the Todman Stakes.

While Capitalist takes on the older horses in the Missile, his contemporaries will do battle in the Listed Rosebud (1200m) with Lasqueti Spirit a late nomination bringing the entries to 13.

Trainer Lee Curtis has also entered the filly for a maiden at Wyong on Friday.

“I’ll discuss it with the owners and we’ll make a decision later,” Curtis said.

Lasqueti Spirit is already stakes-placed, finishing third behind Attention and subsequent Champagne Stakes winner Prized Icon in the Fernhill Handicap in the autumn.

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