Rebel with a Group One cause

A drop back in class enabled Handsome Rebel to post the first winning strike of his career at Matamata with a performance that is likely to see him back to stakes company next time out.
The youngster had placed in all four of his previous runs, two of them at black type level, before breaking his maiden with a minimum of effort for rider Opie Bosson in the Retox Sports Bar &Tokoroa Cosmopolitan Club 6 f on Wednesday.
“He’s a pretty promising horse and he had been getting back and a bit field shy,” said Jamie Richards, who trains Handsome Rebel with Stephen Autridge.
For those reasons, he bypassed Saturday’s Gr.1 Sistema Stakes (1200m) which was quinellaed by his stablemates Sword Of Osman and Avantage.
“We could have gone to the Group One, but we decided to bring him here and ride him positively to take bad luck out of the equation,” Richards said.
Handsome Rebel’s effort is now likely to earn him his Group One chance in the Courtesy Ford Manawatu Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m) at Awapuni at the end of the month.
“He’s certainly up to it and we’ll see how he does, but two and a-half weeks into the race looks good for him,” Richards said.
“He can handle a bit of cut in the ground so he’s not one dimensional.”
Handsome Rebel raced outside the leader before hitting the front half-way down the straight and he dashed clear to beat More Wonder and Lady Lira.
It was a deserved success for the Denman gelding, who had finished third in both the Gr.3 Phoenix Park 2YO Classic (1200m) and the Gr.3 Reid & Harrison Limited Slipper (1200m) in his prior two appearances.
Autridge, Richards and stable jockey Bossonalso won the following event at Matamata when Lonhro’s powerfully-built son Devil May Care returned from a break for an easy win in the Tokoroa Club (Inc) Maiden 6 f.
“He’s had a few issues and the team at Pencarrow Stud have been patient and it’s lovely to win a race for Sir Peter Vela,” Richards said.
“The horse doesn’t mind a bit of give in the ground so he’s in work at the right time of the year and hopefully he keeps improving.”
A stable treble was completed by the Snitzel gelding Pacific Coast when he was successful in the Trees Tavern &Matley Financial Services 6 f to provide rider ShafiqRusof with his first win in his second New Zealand stint.
“Shafiq’s working hard, he can use the stick in both hands and he’s an asset,” Richards said.

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