Group 1 Manikato Stakes to Rebel Dane!

Rebel Dane shocked punters winning Friday night’s $1 million Group I Manikato Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley in his fourth attempt.

The seven-year-old entire finished fifth in the Manikato Stakes in 2013, fourth in 2014 and third in 2015 before winning and despite having not won in 12 starts since winning The Shorts last September. Trainer Gary Portelli said the easing track gave him confidence.

Settled in sixth place along the inside by Ben Melham, Rebel Dane ($61) was able to come through unimpeded along the inside into the home straight and powered home to defeat Fell Swoop ($7.50) by a head with Japonisme ($16) one length away third.

“The cut in the ground certainly helped him and he’s always run well in this race,” Portelli said.

“What a ride – I saw him (Melham) have a look behind him when he tried to push Holler out the way then he cut back to the inside – that’s what won the race.

“I knew he (Rebel Dane) still had it in him, the sectionals he ran last start were the best outside of Astern so I said we’ve got to have a go at this race.

“Sometimes you can be right and he’s won at a massive price.”

Portelli said he had been mixing up Rebel Dane’s routine to keep the seven-year-old stallion interested in his work.

“We’ve been taking him down the beach, putting him over some jumps, just trying to break things up,” Portelli said.

“I’ve got to thank the syndicate for letting me have another crack at this race – we could have pulled up stumps earlier in the campaign but we’ve been confident the horse is right and it was just a matter of him getting some luck.”

Ben Melham said Rebel Dane enjoyed a trouble-free run.

“There was that much room there I was a bit worried the grey (Chautauqua) might have come through there so I had a good look,” Melham said.

“When he wasn’t there, I was happy to have a crack and my horse gave me a good kick. I gave him a click before the corner and he picked up underneath me.”

Rebel Dane won in 1:10.99, the fastest 1200m race on a soft (5) rated track since 2011

Rebel Dane

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