ThoroughBred Racing

Rebel Dane to call Hunter Valley’s Widden Stud home

Rebel Dane to call Hunter Valley’s Widden Stud home

Remarkable stallion Rebel Dane (California Dane), the sire of brilliant Golden Slipper (Gr 1, 1200m) and Inglis Sires’ (Gr 1, 1400m)-winning filly Fireburn from limited opportunities, will relocate to Widden Stud in the Hunter Valley.



Widden’s Antony Thompson won the race to stand the dual Group 1-winning sprinter, who from just 14 runners has produced this season’s dominant juvenile Fireburn, last year’s Group 2-winning juvenile Subterranean and the stakes-placed Lloyd’s Crown. Following the Gary Portelli-trained Fireburn’s Sweet Embrace Stakes (Gr 2, 1200m) victory in late February, Rebel Dane’s principal owners of Laurel Oak Bloodstock’s Louis Mihalyka, Steve Grant and Ken Lowe elected to bring the rising 13-year-old stallion to NSW after five years at stud in Victoria.

International Thoroughbred Solutions’ Mark Player has been managing the negotiation process on behalf of the stallion’s owners and a deal was officially reached yesterday, which will see Rebel Dane stand for a fee of $27,500 (inc GST), up from his 2021 fee of $8,800.



“We had a couple of options in the end and they were almost identical, so it was a very tough decision to make,” Mihalyka told ANZ Bloodstock News yesterday. “We were very thankful that we had an independent person handling the whole process in the end because there were a number of enquiries and a number of expressions of interest.

“There were formal submissions made by the (Friday) deadline and two stood out. It was a tough call but we’re delighted with both those options and Widden got the nod. “Rebel Dane has produced two Group winners from 14 runners. One is from a $22,000 mare (Fireburn) and the other is from a $1,000 mare (Subterranean).



We are hoping that there’s going to be a natural progression with better quality mares which will see continued success for him.” Rebel Dane stood his first two seasons at Swettenham Stud, which produced 52 live foals, before moving to Glen Eden Stud. He has just seven yearlings and another seven weanlings on the ground but he covered 49 mares in 2021, his largest book of mares so far.

“It is a fantastic opportunity for a horse like Rebel Dane who made his way into the spotlight the hard way off small books of fairly modest mares,” Widden principal Thompson said. “His statistics are phenomenal and he has got a couple of very good horses and a likely champion two-year-old. To have a Slipper winner so early on in his career just tells you what an exciting sire he is.

“Obviously he was a very good racehorse himself and he has shown that he can upgrade his mares, which is a great thing for a young stallion.” T hompson, who will also launch Oakleigh Plate (Gr 1, 1100m)-winning sprinter Portland Sky (Deep Field) whis year at a yet to be set fee, revealed that Widden would cap Rebel Dane’s book of mares to 150 this spring. “He is a proven sire with that service fee who has already proven that he can get a Slipper winner, so I think he will really stand out and commercial breeders can breed to him knowing the quality of horses he can produce by the way he upgrades his mares and the great type that he leaves,” he said.

“We haven’t seen many of them through the sales, so it’ll be a bit like relaunching a stallion as a first season sire who has already got the |  24  | Monday, April 4, 2022

“A lot of the trainers wouldn’t have seen them and wouldn’t know much about them, but I am sure in years to come Rebel Dane will turn up at the sales with a lovely line of horses and that the trainers will be excited by what they see.”

One of the mares assured of visiting Rebel Dane this year is Mull Over (So You Think), the dam of this season’s likely champion two-year old Fireburn who is likely to attempt to win the Triple Crown by tackling Saturday week’s Champagne Stakes (Gr 1, 1600m) at Randwick.

“We do pedigree analysis of our mares and I just sent a note to all our owners and told them what the pedigree analysis will cost this year and one of the blokes replied, ‘well, that’s going to be a waste of money, we’re just going back to Rebel Dane, aren’t we?’ and I said ‘that’s a good point’,” Laurel Oak Bloodstock’s Mihalyka said.

As for Fireburn’s condition after Saturday’s race, he added: “Gary (Portelli) has sent a formal report to the owners and it is official that Fireburn pulled up better than Gary after the race. “She ate up overnight and then when he last saw her (yesterday) she’d eaten nine tenths of her breakfast, so she has pulled up beautifully. “If that continues, then we will certainly go to the Champagne