In the 12 months since his finest win in the Group One Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes, things have not quite gone to plan with Rebel Dane.
Trainer Gary Portelli mapped out an autumn campaign starting with the TJ Smith Stakes, only for Rebel Dane to finish second to an in-form Lankan Rupee.
Rebel Dane’s first Group One of the new season was supposed to be in last month’s Memsie Stakes (1400m) but a stone bruise put paid to those plans.
He instead lines up on Friday night in the shorter Moir (1200m) at Moonee Valley, where he meets Lankan Rupee.
This time, Lankan Rupee is going into the race off a shock defeat at the Valley, a track trainer Mick Price admits may not be as much to his liking as others.
That’s some encouragement for Portelli.
“We need some good luck to go our way,” Portelli said.
“We put a protective plastic plate on but he re-bruised the hoof so it has taken a bit longer to get him back to the races.
“Craig Williams rides him so finger crossed.”
Rebel Dane has been to Moonee Valley once, running an unlucky fifth in the 2013 Manikato Stakes won by Buffering who he will meet again in the Moir.
Buffering ran third behind Lankan Rupee and Rebel Dane in the TJ Smith and had just two more autumn starts for thirds in the BTC Cup and Doomben 10,000.
Trainer Robert Heathcote said the seven-year-old was going well and would follow the same path in Melbourne as last year when he also won the Manikato and VRC Sprint.
His program will then be concentrated on getting to Hong Kong for the International Sprint in December.
Among the other Moir entries is Angelic Light who conquered Lankan Rupee in the Group Two McEwen Stakes.