IT is always quite entertaining to watch races contested by five-year-old mare Rabia The Rebel because she is just two bricks and a tickey high and looks like a toddler in a race against teenagers!
On Tuesday at the Vaal the diminutive daughter of Rebel King took on a few much bigger rivals again. She led the MR82 field into the home run in a Plate race over 2000m and first had to contend with Cold Cash, twice her size and coming at her with purpose, before putting her to bed and digging down to hold off late rushes from another relative giant, Pilgrim’s Progress, and Factor Fifty.
“Rabia The Rebel seriously has more heart than ability. She only stands about 14.2 hands. But that’s why we love her, that’s why she runs so well,” explained train er Brett Webber.
Rabia The Rebel came to the Webber stable at the Vaal after eight unplaced runs in Cape Town and soon relished her new surroundings. She’s won five races and placed four times since January 2018 and Webber said: “She runs particularly well for Muzi Yeni, he’s won three races on her. “Other jockeys may be able to ride her at the same weight, but Muzi is the right size for her little frame too because he is so short. So it’s a custom fit, I use Muzi when I can get him.”
The replay shows Yeni bouncing around and looking like he loses a stirrup iron close home, but he was in fact just moving his weight around to get Rabia The Rebel to change legs so she could find an extra effort late. She responded in the way he wanted.
Rabia The Rebel is owned by Mohammed Moosa, who has several runners in the yard. “He’s a laid-back owner,” said Webber, who has built his string to near 35 and hopes to be more competitive in the new term after a long, lean spell. Fred Mindszenty and Pieter Oosthuizen have also brought horses and Norman Deetlefs has joined the stable.
“I have a few unraced three-year-olds and a pair of two-year-olds. We lost momentum, almost had to close shop when Harold Muller and Andre Macdonald took their horses away several years ago, but things are looking up,” said the 45-year-old trainer.
Webber, who cut his teeth with Jean Heming and then spent several years as an assistant to Tony Millard, says he is especially fond of training fillies. He has done very well over the years with female runners, also with a number of rejects from other yards.