Rebel Dane’s magnificent Manikato
While Rebel Dane is thoroughly enjoying his new career in the breeding shed, wooing mares and fillies alike, it was only a year ago that the dual Group 1 winning entire was heading to the Valley to achieve one of the biggest upsets during the spring carnival.
The 2016 Group 1 Manikato Stakes was a crack field, contested by nine Group 1 winners, including Buffering, English, Holler and with Chautauqua, the firm favourite, touted as unbeatable by punters and fans alike, it was going to be an exceptional race.
But there was no doubting ‘war horse’ Rebel Dane was up to the challenge and his victory under lights was a brilliant display of toughness, consistency and determination by the seven-year-old stallion.
Rebel Dane last reigned supreme in the 2013 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes, and having fought many battles at the highest level since, an inspired rails-hugging ride by Ben Melham gave Rebel Dane the advantage on the line.
"What a ride - I saw Melham have a look behind for the grey, and when he was not there he cut back to the inside - that's what won him the race.” Trainer Gary Portelli said.
Rebel Dane's roughie status, paying 61-1 is still a sore spot with punters, cursing themselves for missing his 'Manikato form', that put him right in the race.
Contesting his fourth Manikato Stakes, he followed his trend of getting better every year, as he finished fifth, fourth and third in the last three years.
“He was only beaten a collective 3.4 lengths in his three previous Manikato’s. He was so close, so competitive, and always in the photo.”
"During his incredible career, he has consistently run in the big races against the best sprinters. He's been in some top-class horses' photos, and now, they're in his,” Portelli said.
“He has had a few good goes, but tonight he won with authority, he sure does deserve this.”
Rebel Dane won in 1:10.99, the fastest 1200m race on a soft (5) rated track since 2011.
Portelli, so proud of his old champ, remembers the night and his career fondly.
“He was such great flag bearer for the stables. Horses like him don’t come around very often, not with his record. He has more wins and placings at Group 1 and 2 level than what most horses going to stud, have had starts.”
“He raced the best, at the highest level, season after season, he couldn’t dodge them, he always put up a fight. He is a genuine Group 1 horse, he raced and beat the best horses in the country.”
“I hope he sets the trend for breeders to appreciate well-campaigned, well performed and proven gallopers, and the advantages of breeding to them.”
Louis Mihalyka of Laurel Oak Bloodstock, Rebel Dane’s managing owner also reflects on his Manikato victory and on his future as a successful stallion.
“The Manikato Stakes win was the highlight, as there were nine Group One winners in the ten horse field. Once he drew well we knew he had a chance, and the fact he delivered was a magical moment in life for all of us.”
“Bred on a Danehill/More Than Ready cross, he has the pedigree, looks and soundness to be as good at stud as he was on the racetrack. We are now enjoying the next stage in his career, and eagerly anticipate the arrival of his first foals next season.”
An exceptional value VOBIS stallion and nominated to VOBIS SIRES, Swettenham will be offering a special service fee for mares booking in the later part of the season. Call Brian or Rachel for more information on +61 357 942044 or visit www.swettenham.com.au