Gary Portelli knows he is saddling up the best horse in the Missile Stakes but admits he is clueless about tactics.
The field for Saturday’s Group Two 1200m-sprint has been reduced to five with the scratchings of Golden Slipper winner Capitalist and Group One-placed Generalife because of the heavy track.
The Portelli-trained Rebel Dane is the new favourite but like his four opponents, is a horse who usually gets back in his races.
“There might be five across the track all looking at each other,” Portelli said.
“I’ll leave it up to Tommy Berry to figure it out.
“He’s the maestro and he’ll know what to do.
“It will be a battle of tactics and the best horse doesn’t always win.
“Most days the horses he’s up against would finish behind him but I respect the others and it will all come down to the way the race is run.
“He may be able to take up a spot but there’s not much I can do. It’s up to Tommy.”
The winner of the 2013 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes, Rebel Dane has not won another Group One race since then but has racked up several placings including a second on a heavy track to Lankan Rupee in the 2014 TJ Smith Stakes.
Rebel Dane firmed to $1.75 with the TAB on Friday with Big Money second choice at $2.90.
Godolphin trainer John O’Shea has scratched all four stable runners from the Randwick meeting with the track a heavy 10 on Friday afternoon.
But track manager Nevesh Ramdhani has no concerns about the meeting going ahead with the weather clearing and a fine day forecast for the first Saturday metropolitan program of the new season.
“The track is obviously very heavy but is not at all bottomless, so given the amount of rain at this time of year it is coping as well as can be expected,” Ramdhani said.
Capitalist’s Peter and Paul Snowden-trained stablemate Mediterranean is the $2.10 favourite for the Listed Rosebud (1200m) restricted to three-year-olds.
Article from JustHorseRacing.com.au