A recent throat operation has literally breathed new life into Rebel Dane who continues the second phase of his career in the Premiere Stakes.
In the two years since he won the Group One Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes, Rebel Dane has run well at the top level, but not well enough.
After the All Aged Stakes in the autumn, jockey Blake Shinn told trainer Gary Portelli the horse was making a lot of noise and that prompted the surgery.
To Portelli’s relief, Rebel Dane produced a win in the Group Two Shorts earlier this month to get his career back on track.
“There is a flap in the throat which starts to close over but they can’t operate until it is completely closed,” Portelli said.
“He was racing without getting enough air. He still ran some good races but now he can breathe properly I expect him to be even better.
“He has trained on well since The Shorts and he’s reminiscent of his three-year-old days.”
The Group Two Premiere Stakes (1200m) at Randwick will be Rebel Dane’s lead-up to the Group One Manikato Stakes at Moonee Valley.
On Saturday he will meet fellow Group One winners Terravista, Tiger Tees, Famous Seamus and Hot Snitzel in the sprint.
The winner of the Darley Classic at Flemington last spring, Terravista finished third in the Newmarket Handicap and TJ Smith Stakes in the autumn before he too failed in the All Aged Stakes.
Trainer Joe Pride has given Terravista three barrier trials heading towards his return with the five-year-old winning his past two.
Portelli will also enter Golden Rose minor placegetter Sebring Sun for Randwick on Saturday in the Roman Consul Stakes.
“I’m still not sure whether he will run so we’ll put him and decide later in the week,” he said.