Friday, April 5, 2013

Portelli happy to ride his luck with Rebel Dane

Gary Portelli believes Rebel Dane had the edge on Pierro last time they met, so in Saturday's George Ryder Stakes he will be counting on luck to beat the superstar.

Rebel Dane lost his unbeaten tag in the Hobartville Stakes when Pierro lowered his colours by a short head, but a month on Portelli knows his colt will meet a different beast.

"Last time we clashed Rebel Dane was ready to go 12 rounds and Pierro was only ready for 10," Portelli said. "That is why [Pierro] is a champion, because he found enough to beat us. You don't want to be defeatist going into any race but we probably need to be at the top of our game and have luck on our side to beat Pierro.''

That won't stop Rebel Dane from trying. After winning his first four starts, the narrow loss in the Hobartville was followed by a slightly disappointing fourth in the Randwick Guineas as favourite.


Rebel Dane bruised a heel in that run but Portelli put defeat down to taking the California Dane colt out of his usual racing pattern.

"He had that bruised heel after the run but it cleared up fairly quickly," Portelli said. "I think he was just a bit too close in the run, so we won't be falling for that trick again. He will run his own race and not be worrying about what the others are doing."

Craig Williams takes over from Jason Collett in the saddle and will be given instructions to relax the three-year-old back in the field.

"Last time we were up in the first four in a fast-run race, which was completely different to how he was ridden at his other starts," Portelli said. "We just want Craig to drop his hands on his neck and get him to relax and come with the one run at the end, which has been his style right through his career."

Portelli said Rebel Dane remained on track for his grand final in the Doncaster in two weeks.

Grand-final day has arrived for Rebel Dane's stablemate I'm All The Talk, which chases the dream of the Golden Slipper. The son of Stratum is likely to take a sit in a race Portelli expects to be run at a sizzling tempo.

"I think all the race maps will go out the window when they jump," he said. "They always fly in the Slipper and I would like to think we will camp in behind them and come with our run in the straight. You need a bit of luck in the Slipper and hopefully we will get that."
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