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'Jet' Colt A Training Project For MacDonell

Published: September 16, 2011 10:00 pm ET

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Grand River Raceway wraps up its Ontario Sires Stakes season with an impressive line up of Gold Series events this month, starting with a $40,000 Gold elimination for the exciting two-year-old pacing colts on Monday, Sept. 19.

Two colts will be eliminated from Monday’s field, and Paul MacDonell is hoping Rebel Jet is not one of them. Rebel Jet makes just his second start in the OSS program from Post 6, and the Guelph, Ont. resident is hoping the pacer’s inexperience does not work against him.

“It’ll take some maneuvering to get him into the final,” says MacDonell, who trains and drives the colt. “We’ll see how it goes; he’s a little short on experience compared to the other colts.”

Rebel Jet made his career debut in a two-year-old conditioned event at Mohawk Racetrack on July 22, finishing third to undefeated Grassroots division leader R Gauwitz Hanover and reigning Gold champion I Found My Beach. That effort earned the colt a berth in the Aug. 7 Gold eliminations at Flamboro Downs, where he finished a disappointing fifth.

“He got sick there in August right after the Gold eliminations at Flamboro,” explains MacDonell, who shares ownership of Rebel Jet with Irwin Stables Inc. of Cobourg, Ont. “It took pretty much a month to get him where he was right.

“I was able to get a qualifier and one race in him before this week,” adds the horseman.

Rebel Jet heads into Monday’s contest off another third-place finish in a non-winners of two races contest at Mohawk on Sept. 13, where he laid down a :27.3 final quarter to reach the wire in 1:53.3. That effort convinced MacDonell to give the son of Jeremes Jet and Heart Ofthe Matter another shot at the top level colts, and the horseman says the next step is up to Rebel Jet.

“We’ll see if he can measure up to these big boys. I’m not sure if he can yet, but we’ll go in and try and see what happens,” says the O’Brien Award winning reinsman. “We’ll give it an honest effort on Monday and see where we go from there.”

Rebel Jet is one of two pacing colts MacDonell is currently conditioning, the first year he has been listed as a trainer since 1995. The veteran horseman says he is dipping his toes back into the training side of the game after two decades spent as one of Canada’s top catch drivers.

“We’re starting out slow, just to get my feet wet again,” says MacDonell, who also handles day-to-day care of three-year-old pacing colt Judge Jon. “1995 was the last time I was listed as a charted trainer, but it’s not like I never did any training, I helped out Paula Wellwood and my dad (Blaise MacDonell).”

MacDonell was drawn to Rebel Jet at last fall’s Harrisburg Yearling Sale due to his connection with the colt’s sire Jeremes Jet. The reinsman piloted Jeremes Jet in his Canadian starts and the pair swept the Metro Pace, Governors Cup and Breeders Crown in 2005.

“I didn’t go to the sales to buy a Jeremes Jet per se, but his all looked so nice, and I found this colt and took a liking to him,” says MacDonell, who joined with longtime partner Gord Irwin to purchase the $120,000 yearling.

“He was good to get going; he hasn’t given us much trouble. He’s got a little attitude to him, but it’s a likeable attitude,” adds the reinsman. “He has a really strong gait, so I think that will take him further than anything. Those are his best attributes right now.”

Rebel Jet will put his best attributes to work against a tough field on Monday that includes Battle of Waterloo winner Machapelo from the advantageous Post 1, reigning Gold champ I Found My Beach from Post 7, and two-time Gold Final winner Warrawee Needy from Post 9.

Two colts will be eliminated from the field and the top eight finishers will return to Grand River Raceway for the second last $130,000 Gold Final on the freshman pacing colt calendar. Monday’s $40,000 Gold elimination is slated for Race 9, with the Elora oval’s first race getting under way at 7:10 p.m.

To view Monday's harness racing entries, click on the following link: Monday Entries - Mohawk Racetrack.


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