The William Reid Stakes features five Group One winners but it is a sprinter still chasing an elite-level breakthrough who is the early favourite.
Friday night’s weight-for-age William Reid (1200m) at Moonee Valley is Melbourne final Group One race for the season and three-year-old Star Turn is the $4.50 favourite with sportsbet in a field of 13.
Star Turn’s three Group One starts this season have netted three minor placings in the Coolmore Stud Stakes in the spring and the Lightning Stakes and Newmarket Handicap so far this autumn.
The colt’s opposition includes last year’s winner Flamberge as well as Rebel Dane who won the Group One Manikato Stakes over the course and distance last spring.
Those two are at $13 and $10 respectively while the other Group One winners engaged are The Quarterback ($19), Japonisme ($19) and Oakleigh Plate-winning mare Sheidel who is on the second line of betting at $5.50.
Seven-year-old Rebel Dane is scheduled to travel to Melbourne overnight on Wednesday for his first start since returning from Hong Kong where he finished 11th in the International Sprint in December.
Golden Slipper-winning trainer Gary Portelli said Rebel Dane was ready to go on Friday night.
“He’s drawn seven of 13 and I haven’t done the speed map of the race just yet but it looks like a race he should be competitive in,” Portelli said.
“You always worry when they are getting back from a spell, whether they are back, or whether now he’s an older horse he might take a few runs, but based on what we’re seeing he’s ready to rock and roll on Friday night.”
Rebel Dane will be ridden by Ben Melham who was also aboard the Portelli-trained Slipper winner She Will Reign at Rosehill on Saturday.
Star Turn is one of two runners in the William Reid field for the Hawkes Racing training partnership, the other being Kaepernick.