Friday, 16 March 2012
Wear and tear has taken its toll on Border Rebel but trainer Sue Grills hopes her bush champion can rediscover his best form at Eagle Farm on Saturday.
Grills has decided Border Rebel will make his comeback in the Makers Mark Handicap (1000m) in Brisbane instead of the $100,000 Gold Coast Stakes (1200m) the same day.
"He's not fit enough to run 1200 metres so he's going to Brisbane to run instead of the Gold Coast," Grills said.
"He hasn't raced for more than nine months and the 1000 metres at Eagle Farm will suit him better."
The son of Johannesburg has an excellent first-up record with four wins and two placings from six starts and is a five-time winner from six attempts at the distance.
Border Rebel's troublesome feet forced Grills to give him a lengthy spell after he produced an out-of-character performance when last to Title in the Listed Takeover Target
Stakes at Gosford last June.
It came two weeks after a similar performance when he tailed the field in the Group One Stradbroke Handicap at Eagle Farm won by Sincero.
"He's had crook feet most of his life but I can't explain what went wrong in the Takeover Target
," Grills said.
"In the Stradbroke he copped a hard bump early on and got back in the field and he's just not used to that.
"He normally likes to be up with the leaders."
In 2010, Border Rebel was dubbed a bush champion after registering seven successive wins on Queensland and NSW tracks before his run ended when runner-up to Catapulted in the Group Two QTC Cup at Eagle Farm during the Brisbane winter carnival.
The defeat robbed him of a start in the Stradbroke Handicap that year before he bounced back to winning form at his next start in the Takeover Target
Grills is glad Eagle Farm will be run on a rain-affected track and the wetter the better.
"I gave him a longer spell than normal so his feet could grow out," she said.
"I'm going to dodge hard tracks with him in the future but his feet are really good at the moment.
"The problem I've got is I don't know how long they'll stay that way."
Grills is not aiming Border Rebel, who has won 13 of his 25 starts, at any particular race this campaign but has refused to rule out sending him to Sydney for the autumn.
"It's one run at a time with him for the moment," she said.
"The weather is going to the key wherever he goes and I'm not ruling out taking him to Sydney."