Dreams Are Free powers into Derby favouritism

By Michael Guerin

It was hard to work out what excited winning trainer Nathan Williamson more after Dreams Are Free’s massive Alexandra Park debut on Friday night.

The fact that his stable star came north and beat the best three-year-olds in the country or the fact he should be even better for the $200,000 Woodlands Northern Derby next Friday.

He was immediately installed the favourite for the Derby at $2.20, with Chase A Dream and Cold Chisel now at $4.

The Southland pacer was stunning downing Cold Chisel, Major Hot and a potentially disappointing Chase A Dream in the Garrards Sires' Stakes 3YO Colts and Geldings Heat in what turned into the performance of the night.

Williamson was open before the race about how tough a task Dreams Are Free faced and it got even tougher when he had to sit parked outside Major Hot, with Chase A Dream in the trail and Cold Chisel on Williamson’s back in the one-one.

But when the speed went into the slowly-run 1700m at the 500m mark Dreams Are Free not only loomed up to the leader but then fought off Cold Chisel.

It was a monstrous win and leaves no doubt Dreams Are Free can win next Friday’s Derby and any other three-year-old race he turns up in when in this sort of form.

“While we all know he is a good horse I didn’t think he could sit parked and do that to those horses,” said Williamson of his first Alexandra Park pacing winner.

“It is very exciting because I am sure he will be better for the experience.

“So that should make him even harder to beat next week and if he gets a good draw I wouldn’t be scared to lead on him.”

While Derby lead-ups can be misleading affairs the winner was so good, especially holding Cold Chisel at bay, he really opened up the Derby market, one Chase A Dream had dominated.

He did get down in the worst part of the slushy track in a sprint home but to the eye he was below par and may need a good week to win the Derby.

Williamson was also happy with his three-year-old fillies Flying Ellie, who placed behind a good horse in Jolimont, and Ruby Roe who stormed into third behind a dominant All You Need Is Me in the $100,000 Caduceus Club Ladyship Stakes.

“They both went great, particularly Ruby Roe who came from a long way back so they are on track for the Oaks next week.”

As good as the runs from placegetters Duchess Megxit and Ruby Roe were All You Need Is Me could be unbeatable if she draws to lead in the Pascoes the Jewellers Northern Oaks as she seems to be loving Alexandra Park.

Trained by Team Dalgety and driven by Carter, the daughter of the great Adore Me is living up to her breeding and has a high cruising speed and great attitiude so may have worked her way to the top of the fillies’ rankings, albeit after two Alex Park wins where she led and controlled her races.

The Oaks is shaping as a superb race on a great card next Friday.

Another with big-race aspirations who won on Friday was Old Town Road, who returned to racing on the night he was officially confirmed as being in The Race by Grins in the Hydroflow slot.

After missing last week’s race he started off a 30m handicap in a small field but was sent forward to lead by new driver Josh Dickie and bravely held on to win on a challenging night.

With Leap To Fame confirmed as not coming to the Race by Grins, Old Town Road has emerged as a genuine winning chance in what will be a very even field.

Another highlight on Friday with Tony Herlihy training all three trotting winners in Luby Lill, Monarch Hill and the latter’s little sister Inasinglemoment, all three sired by What The Hill.

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