Diminutive but game Rebel Dane fought out the finish in the Clamms Seafood Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (Aus-I) and earned his first top-level win Sept. 29 at Caulfield.
Rebel Dane emerged from the four-way photo-finish the winner by a short half-head. He was masterfully ridden by Glen Boss, who positioned the 4-year-old California Dane colt close to the pace, three wide behind group I winner Linton as Strawberry Boy set the early pace. When Strawberry Boy weakened around the home turn, Rebel Dane dug in and battled for victory, just edging group II winner Fontelina.
Group I winner Solzhenitsyn finished a close third, and Speediness, who charged from the back of the field to just miss, finishing fourth in the 16-horse field in the tight finish. Linton ran fifth.
Jockey Glenn Boss tallied his 86th group I win as Rebel Dane completed 1,400 meters (about seven furlongs) in 1:23.88 at the 5.50-1 favorite on a track rated as good.
"He was an ugly duckling," trainer Gary Portelli told the Daily Telegraph. "We couldn't sell him and I got him to train."
"He was so plain, after the breakers I couldn't even get a girth around him he was so small and weak and offset--but he moved so well.
"He's a plain little horse, but he gets the job done."
Rebel Dane was competitive in the 3-year-old division last season. He finished just a nose behind champion Pierro in the Hobartville Stakes (Aus-I) and subsequently was a creditable fourth behind It's a Dundeel in the Hyland Race Colours Royal Randwick Guineas (Aus-I). He began his career with four consecutive wins, including the Royal Sovereign Stakes (Aus-II) at Rosehill Gardens, before taking on Pierro in the Hobartville.
Overall, Rebel Dane has six wins and a second from 10 career starts. His record also includes a victory in the Show County Quality Stakes (Aus-I) Aus. 24 at Warwick Farm.
Portelli, who trains Rebel Dane for a partnership that includes breeder Laurel Oak Bloodstock, has his eye on another group I for Rebel Dane—the $1 million Patinack Farm Classic at 1,200 meters Nov. 9 at Flemington.
Australian-bred Rebel Dane is out of the More Than Ready
. He is the first group I winner for sire California Dane, an 11-year-old son of Danehill who stands at Baerami Thoroughbreds in Denman, New South Wales.