King To Shine In Bunbury Classic Says McAuliffe


Darren McAuliffe says punters should be tempted to bet that Rebel King will win the Listed Amelia Park-Bunbury Stakes (1400m) on Wednesday.

Rebel King caused an upset at $21 when he scored a 1 ¼ victory over River Dance in the Listed Cyril Flower Stakes (1200m) at Ascot on February 16.

He then backed up a week later in the Listed Pinjarra Classic (1300m) and ran one length third to Vital Silver after getting held up in the straight.

McAuliffe is rated a $9 chance, easing from $6.50. Simon Miller stable mates Alpha Sky, chasing four wins in a line, holds $3.50 favouritism. Achernar Star is second pick at $4.60.

McAuliffe, who won the Bunbury Stakes with Rebel King’s sire, Universal Ruler in 2008, believes Rebel King is slipping under the radar of punters.

He says the seven-year-old was desperately unlucky last-start with 60kg and should be going into the Bunbury Stakes off the back of two feature wins.

“I will argue the point with anyone that he was an absolute certainty beat,” McAuliffe told Tabradio.

“He was held up from probably the 600m to about the 180m.

“You just can’t sprint and pick up with those sort of weights.

“I thought he did an absolute fantastic job.

“You could run that race 100 times and he’d win it 99 out of a 100.

“He maps for the same run and is in a really good spot.

“He is well and truly above the odds if you go back and watch his last two runs, that’s for sure.

“I’m very happy with him and he will be there when the whips are cracking.”

Rebel King will carry 60kg for in-form jockey Mitch Pateman and in a field of 11 starters he has drawn perfectly in barrier one.

A win will take his earnings close to $1 million. He has already collected $748, 075 in prize money and $120,000 in Westspeed bonuses from his 12 wins and 15 placings.

For a horse that has been plagued by niggly feet issues for most of his 47 career starts, it’s a healthy and profitable return for his big group of owners.

McAuliffe says Rebel King will be at his best for the Bunbury Stakes.

“Sometimes he has little foot niggles, but I can tell you unequivocally he is 110 per cent sound and at the top of his game,” McAuliffe said.

“Sometimes at this time of the year he has allergies, but we have been working extremely hard on a few different products and new techniques.

“It’s really really paying dividends and he is working well. His lungs are perfect at the moment which is super.”

Julio Santarelli