Rebel Dane has won a barrier trial at Rosehill in preparation for the Hong Kong International.
Rebel Dane’s barrier trial win ahead of his Hong Kong mission has given his relieved trainer confidence he is ready to perform on the international stage.
Gary Portelli admits he was nervous before Tuesday’s 1000m-trial at Rosehill which Rebel Dane won narrowly but decisively after overhauling the speedy That’s A Good Idea in the straight.
After his win in the Group One Manikato Stakes, Rebel Dane was invited to run in the International Sprint at Sha Tin on December 11, an opportunity his connections were thrilled to accept.
“I was a bit nervous before the trial,” Portelli said.
“There was a lot riding on it and the last thing I wanted was for him to trial poorly.
“But now I know he is where he should be and we can go over there knowing he has held his form and I’m sure he will race well.”
Portelli’s only concern is making sure Rebel Dane is at his fighting weight for the race.
“He was at 495 kilos yesterday so between now and when he leaves on the fourth of December, I just want to get him close to 500,” he said.
“His normal racing weight is 493 and we want to have that buffer because horses usually lose weight when they travel.”
A seven-year-old entire, Rebel Dane has maintained his form this spring with Portelli changing his training regime to include trips to the beach for a swim and going over a few small jumps.
The trainer said there had also been renewed interest from a couple of studs for Rebel Dane whose other Group One win was in the 2013 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes.
His Manikato Stakes winning jockey Ben Melham made the trip from Melbourne to ride Rebel Dane in the trial and also partnered his two-year-old stablemate, She Will Reign, in her first official outing in a 900m-heat.
Despite Portelli’s hopes the filly would relax in the run, She Will Reign did what she does in trackwork and ran the field off its legs to win by more than five lengths.
“It’s ridiculous how fast she can run,” he said.
“She’s just a very fast horse and the aim is to start her in the Inglis Nursery.”
The $500,000 sales-related race over 1000 metres at Randwick on December 17 was won last year by Extreme Choice, subsequent winner of the Blue Diamond Stakes and the weight-for-age Moir Stakes.