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Portelli looking to life after Rebel Dane

Box 14 at Gary Portelli’s Warwick Farm stable remains empty with the trainer admitting it will take a special horse to fill it.

For the past five years the box has been the sole territory of dual Group One winner Rebel Dane who left the stable last Thursday for his new home at Swettenham Stud.

“I had a runner at Hawkesbury so I didn’t have to see him go,” Portelli said.

“Obviously he had come and gone before but this time he’s not coming back and he’s been such a big part of the stable.”

The Rebel Dane connection hasn’t been completely lost with his two-year-old sister to make her debut in an 1100m-race at Canterbury on Wednesday.

But Portelli is not getting his hopes too high, expecting she may find it hard against her more experienced opposition including stablemate Lipizzan, a last-start second in the Listed Woodlands Stakes at Scone.

“Dixie is a lovely Foxwedge filly but she is a back marker like Rebel Dane,” he said.

“I’ve got two nice fillies in the race and it would have been nice to separate them but there just aren’t enough races for them at this time of year.

“Lipizzan has drawn wide again but she showed at Scone she has the speed to get across so I’m not too worried about that.”

The trainer also has Next Level (Benchmark 72, 1250m) and Seeking Asylum (Benchmark 67, 1580m) at Canterbury.

“Seeking Asylum is in the broodmare sale on the 30th so it would be nice to get a win with her,” he said.

“She’s a wet tracker so hopefully the track stays soft.

“Next Level has won a couple of country races which pushed his benchmark up so he is getting a bit hard to place.

“He’s badly handicapped in the bush now so I’m hoping for the best.”

While Portelli is already missing Rebel Dane, he has much to look forward to with Golden Slipper winner She Will Reign who comes back to the stable next month.

“She looks fantastic and it will be great to have her back,” he said.

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