A stirring track gallop from Rebelson has boosted the confidence of Darren McAuliffe ahead of the Mungrup Stud Sprint (1300m) at Mount Barker on Sunday.
The Lark Hill trainer opted to switch plans and target Mount Barker’s premier sprint after abandoning Rebelson’s Perth Cup ambitions late last year.
McAuliffe pulled the plug on the staying feature after the son of Snippetson was soundly beaten by Bedamijo in the ATA Stakes (2200m) on December 23.
In a field of 11 starters, Rebelson, a triple Listed winner, will start from barrier four for, jockey, Brad Parnham. With 54kg he carries his lightest weight in nearly three years.
McAuliffe, who is no stranger to Mungrup Stud success having prepared Spitfire Ace (2010) and Impressive Stats (2005), said Rebelson was spot on.
“We were going to go for the Perth Cup, but he pulls too hard and can’t stay,” McAuliffe said on TABradio.
“He has freshened up beautifully since his last run and his work on Tuesday morning was absolutely outstanding.
“I know he goes well at the track and I’m very, very happy with him.”
Rebelson, $12 on the TAB, is looking to go one better after just failing to pick up Dawn Approach when runner-up in last year’s Mungrup Stud Sprint.
Shining Knight, from the powerful Grant Williams camp, heads the market at $2.60, but with 61kg, he will have to break a weight carrying record.
The Blackfriars gelding has a strong fresh record and resumes after a fast-finishing second to gun mare, Sheidel, in the Crawford Stakes (1000m) on December 5.
Champion rider William Pike, searching for his first win in the Mungrup Stud Sprint, partners Shining Knight from barrier two.
Reflectance, who races for the third consecutive week and Albany-trained Dream Lifter, share the second line of betting at $4.60.
Dream Lifter, prepared by Paul Hunter and to be ridden by his nephew, Mitchell Pateman, is out to shatter the Perth dominance.
The visiting invaders have dominated the race in recent years with Noble Steed the previous Great Southern galloper to salute.
Meanwhile McAuliffe gives Mambokadzi a big shot of taking out the Shamrock Suffolk Stud Handicap (1300m).
Her last three outings have been good, a winner at Northam two starts back and she rates highly after a last-start second to Dendee at Ascot.
Dendee, an up and comer from Dan Morton’s team franked the form line with a slashing last-to-first victory at Pinjarra on Wednesday.
“She was unlucky not to have beaten Dendee to be honest after getting into a lot of bother and getting shuffled back,” McAuliffe said.
“She is in terrific order and I can’t fault her.
“Conjob is the unknown factor having won in town and must be respected.
“But he is first up and meeting a fit horse who will be on top of the speed.
“He would want to be at his best to knock off Mambokadzi.”
RWWA: Julio Santarelli