Rebel Dane’s overdue Group One

| September 30, 2013
Rebel Dane wins the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes for Gary Portelli and Glen Boss

Rebel Dane wins the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes for Gary Portelli and Glen Boss

The highly talented Rebel Dane has thrown the Group One monkey off his back with a narrow victory in the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes at Caulfield.

There was no time for a winning salute by Glen Boss as he passed the line in a hectic finish, with Rebel Dane holding only a short-half-head margin from Fontelina and Solzhenitsyn in the 1,400m feature.

The horse branded an “ugly duckling” by his trainer Gary Portelli showed what he was capable of when he mixed it with the best of his generation last season.

He came within a whisker of defeating now-retired star galloper Pierro, and Portelli and Boss have maintained this spring was his time to shine.

“It’s a great relief. Bossy has had the belief that he was a Group One horse and we were hoping he was right,” Portelli said.

“Every trainer in the world wants to win Group One races and it’s hard to find these sort of horses.”

The win was extra special for Portelli, who prepared Rebel Dane’s dam Texarcana for Louis Mihalyka and Laurel Oak Bloodstock.

“People spend a lot of money trying to find a good one, but luckily enough for me … they and bred an ugly duckling, couldn’t sell him, and I got him to train,” Portelli said.

“They’re great supporters. We’ve had a lot of luck over the years but nothing at this level and it’s great fun.

“Some of this horse’s owners even raced the grandmother, so there will be a lot of tears I expect.”

Boss said Rebel Dane did it tough racing three wide, but he had cover behind Stradbroke winner Linton who battled on courageously to finish fifth.

“He really dug deep and I have nothing but admiration for this colt,” said the champion jockey, who now has 86 Group Ones to his name.

Portelli says he wants to freshen Rebel Dane and aim for the $1 million Group One Patinack Farm Classic down the Flemington straight at the end of Cup week.

Solzhenitsyn, meanwhile, will step up in trip and defend his Toorak Handicap crown, when he will likely renew hostilities with a number of Sunday’s rivals.

Among them will be Speediness, who flew home from back in the field under Craig Williams and would have won in another few strides.



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