Boss’s advice on Rebel Dane clinches Caulfield sprint


GLEN Boss says it is the lessons learnt in defeat on Sydney sprinter Rebel Dane that inspired yesterday’s Group I victory in the $400,000 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield.

Boss, renowned for identifying horses that can win at the elite level, locked on to Rebel Dane after his autumn three-year-old campaign and sought trainer Gary Portelli to chase the ride during his spring preparation.

He flew to Sydney in late July to trial the colt and Boss knew then the horse was ready to take the step forward. A month later, he turned down a good book of rides in Melbourne to fly back to Sydney and guide Rebel Dane to first-up success in the Show County Quality (1200m) at Warwick Farm.

However, it was when things didn’t go according to best laid plans in the Bobbie Lewis Quality (1200m) at Flemington this month that Boss came to understand more about the depth of Rebel Dane’s talent. “I had a real good chat with Gary (Portelli) after that race and I said I learnt more by riding him and getting beat than I did when I won on him,” Boss said.

“I had him a bit too close on a hot speed that day. I thought I had to follow a certain horse and it didn’t work out. He got beaten a length-and-a-quarter and he was virtually out of his comfort zone the whole way, 1200 metres. That told me that the horse was flying.

“Today was all about getting him back in his comfort zone, because he’s got a very good turn of foot when you ask him, if you give him the chance to do it.”

Rebel Dane, the $5.50 favourite, prevailed in a busy finish after grabbing the lead inside the last 200m. He nosed out Fontellina ($18), with Solzhenitsyn ($7.50) a similar margin away.

There was no time for the celebratory gestures that have been getting Boss in trouble with stewards and costing him thousands of dollars in fines. In fact, Boss didn’t know if he’d won and was told on pulling up that Peter Robl’s mount (Fontellina) had won. Boss couldn’t hide his joy upon his return to the winner’s enclosure, but gave an indication that the days of exuberant fist-pumping and standing up in the stirrup irons may be behind him.

“That’s all finished and over and done with. My wife said it’s costing her dresses and shoes. I kept this one for you, Sloane,” Boss said after weighing in.

Portelli said the four-year-old’s owners raced the mother of Rebel Dane, Texarcana, with the trainer. Some of the group of owners also raced Rebel Dane’s grand-dam, Cottonfields.

“He was an ugly duckling and they couldn’t sell him, so I got him to train,” Portelli said.

South Australian three-year-old Eclair Big Bang made it three wins from four starts when he won the Guineas Prelude (1400m).

Trainer Philip Stokes confirmed the gelding would be given a shot at the Group I Caulfield Guineas (1600m) on October 12 after he ran down tearaway Kiwi raider El Roca.

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