Don't Stop Dreaming impressive in Chariots of Fire build up

By Adam Hamilton

Young Kiwi star Don’t Stop Dreaming is the top seed for one of the strongest Chariots Of Fire in recent history.

Mark and Nathan Purdon’s iced his preparation for Australasia’s biggest four-year-old race next Saturday night with an arrogant win against older rivals in a 2300m free-for-all at Menangle last night.

Don’t Stop Dreaming, who was already qualified for the Chariots, continued to work forward from a wide draw for driver Mark Purdon and eventually found the front after 700m.

He then dictated terms with splits of 30, 31.4 and even 29.2sec down the straight.

It was basically a 400m dash home which Don’t Stop Dreaming ran in 25.7sec while Purdon appeared to simply be nursing him.

His body of work in three Australian runs, including that fantastic second in the Hunter Cup to Leap To Fame, has been sublime.

Despite his stunning talent and potential, there’s so much depth in next Saturday night’s Chariots that Don’t Stop Dreaming will need a good draw and/or plenty of luck in running.

His Kiwi arch-rival Its Merlin was beaten but won plenty of fans with a monstrous second at his first Aussie run when second in last night’s Paleface Adios Stakes.

Exciting Bathurst pacer Better Be The Best used a better draw to push forward and lead, while Its Merlin was three-wide for the first 700m of the race, sat parked and kept coming to be beaten just 2.6m in a slick 1min49.8sec mile.

Like all the big guns, Its Merlin will need a kind draw to be a huge winning chance next week.

Underrated Queenslander Sure Thing Captain also grabbed the eye with a terrific third at his first run since last September.

Its Merlin’s stablemate Sooner The Bettor, who is also in the Chariots, looked a tad disappointing when beaten into second spot as favourite in a support race at Menangle last night.

X X X

Revenge is sweet, just ask the Just Believe team.

Just weeks after a rare but high profile defeat in the Great Southern Star final, Aussie champ Just Believe stamped his greatness with a narrow but breathtaking win in last night’s $75,000 Group 1 Grand Prix at Melton.

The margin wasn’t huge, but the win and drive by Greg Sugars were.

French-bred European import Callmethebreeze blasted to the front and shuffled Just Believe back to three pegs.

Sugars dared to stay there when Arcee Phoenix moved around the field and pocketed him.

Callmethebreeze surprisingly punctured coming to the final bend and Arcee Phoenix, running the race of his life, zoomed away with a big lead.

But then came Just Believe.

The globetrotting eight-year-old stormed home to snatch victory by a head in a 1min57.2sec mile rate for 2240m.

It was arguably as good a win of any in his stellar career.

Arcee Phoenix further stamped himself as a serious major race player and must be right on the radar for a TAB Trot slot at Cambridge.

He will go to Menangle on Saturday week for the $100,000 Group 2 Hammerhead Trot.

Just Believe will stay in Victoria for his build-up to the April 12 Cambridge feature.

Earlier at Melton, star Kiwi-owned mare Queen Elida narrowly but impressively returned to winning form back against her own sex in the $50,000 Group 2 Breed for Speed Gold final.

The daughter of Love You, who is already confirmed in the NZ TAB slot for the Cambridge race, had to sit parked and lifted after looking in trouble to snatch a neck win over the leader Revelstoke in a 1min55.5sec mile rate for 1720m.

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