Confidence in Dream Lifter
Brilliant sprinter Dream Lifter will lump 59kg as top weight in his attempt to win a first $120,000 Bunbury Stakes (1400m) for Albany pair Paul Hunter and Mitchell Pateman at Bunbury Turf Club on Sunday afternoon.
The star Albany galloper was engaged as top weight in the listed feature but has drawn ideally in barrier four with regular rider Pateman in the saddle.
Dream Lifter finished a gallant second to Young Lionel in last year’s Bunbury Stakes with 57.5kg on his back, almost giving Hunter and Pateman their first triumph in the race.
The six-year-old has been hard to fault in his three starts this campaign, running fourth to Potent Secret in the Summer Scorcher and then finishing second to Rebel King in the Mungrup Stud Sprint.
Last month, Dream Lifter carried 58.5kg and ran home strongly to get beaten by half a length by Great Shot in the Cyril Flower Stakes (1200m). Hunter said his galloper faced another big task but he was confident he would again be in the finish.
“We are very happy with the horse,” Hunter said.
“He’s got 59kg top weight and has got 1.5kg more than last year.
“He has done everything right (leading up) and his work has been good, so we are confident he’ll be competitive.” Hunter said spacing Dream Lifter’s runs had been beneficial and he was not concerned about his fitness after last starting on February 18.
“That’s how we’ve gone, three to four weeks between runs,” he said.
“But there are not a lot of races for these types of horses and the Pinjarra Classic was too close — only a week apart.
“It’s a hard race to be in and a hard race to win; it’s a good field and we respect them all.”
His rivals include Pinjarra Classic winner Man Booker, Great Shot, Wink And A Nod, and Grant and Alana Williams-trained pair Dezzies Dream and Coming Back.
Albany trainer Gerry Hughes will start promising three-year-old Gradual Incline in the Rangeview Stud WA Breeders’ Classic (1400m) in Bunbury on the same day.
The Oratorio gelding steps up significantly in class to the listed three-year-old feature but comes in with winning form after his eye-catching win over 1300m in Pinjarra last start.
Gradual Incline was a dominant maiden winner in Mt Barker, recording a slashing six-and-a-quarter-length victory, and hoop Glenn Smith retains the ride.
The youngster will start from gate three with 55kg on his back and clash with WA Guineas winner Variation, to be ridden by class WA-bred and now Melbourne-based jockey Damien Lane.
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