Stamina a trump card for Derby contender

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  • February 05, 2024
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By Paul Vettise, LOVERACING.NZ News Desk

Renegade Rebel will make the second middle distance appearance of his burgeoning career on Wednesday in his final lead-up to the country’s Blue Riband age group staying feature.

The Gr.2 Legacy Lodge Waikato Guineas (2000m) at Te Rapa will provide the stage for his dress rehearsal for the Gr.1 Trackside New Zealand Derby (2400m) at Ellerslie on March 2.

Renegade Rebel has already displayed his depths of stamina with a stylish last-start victory in the Listed Gingernuts Salver (2100m) off the back of a maiden success at just his third outing.

“He’s flying, but I just think that two and a-half weeks between runs might not suit him that well at Te Rapa but four and a-half weeks leading into the Derby will,” trainer Cody Cole said.

Renegade Rebel’s progress hasn’t surprised his Matamata handler, who also has confidence in his free-going son of El Roca mastering the Classic distance.

“He has continued to step up and keep improving and after the Guineas he won’t run again until the Derby, I think that will be the ideal build-up for a horse like him,” Cole said.

Out of the Duelled mare Regalia, who was successful on five occasions, Renegade Rebel has won his last two races with dominant front-running performances in the hands of Matthew Cameron, who takes the reins again.

“We went into the Salver knowing he would run the trip and he gets to the front and into his own rhythm,” Cole said.

“He does it very easily and covers the ground well. It’s pretty effortless for him and winds up when he needs to, and we know he will keep finding.

“You go into a lot of these three-year-old staying races riding a horse conservatively hoping they run the trip out, but we don’t need to take that approach.

“We know he is best out there doing his own thing and it’s just a matter of whether he can hold the rest of them out.”

Cole was also in the market for a pair of youngsters during the second session of New Zealand Bloodstock’s National Yearling Sale at Karaka on Monday, including a daughter of El Roca.

“He is a sire that has been pretty good to me so there’s no point changing, we’ve got a few others with ability,” he said.

Lot 474 offered by Westbury Stud was purchased with Andrew Williams Bloodstock and is out of the unraced Testa Rossa mare Test My Resolve, a half-sister to the South African Group Three winner Roy’s Riviera.

Cole also teamed up with fellow trainer Kurtis Pertab to secure Lot 331 for $110,000 out of Curraghmore’s draft.

“He’s one that we will look to trade, most likely at the Ready to Run Sale,” he said.

The Almanzor colt is a half-brother to the Gr.3 Rotorua Stakes (1400m) winner Tomelilla, who also claimed a brace of Listed events, and to the Gr.3 Waikato Cup (2400m) winner Viktor Vegas with their dam the Dubai Destination mare Purnima. – LOVERACING.NZ News Desk

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