Staggering win by Dreams Are Free at Winton
By Jonny Turner
Winton racegoers may have thought they were dreaming yesterday when they witnessed one of the most staggering performances in Southland harness racing history from Dreams Are Free.
After making a mistake behind the mobile and trailing the field by up to ten lengths for much of race 8, the two-year-old tacked near the 500m mark before somehow powering home to win.
While he knows more than anyone how good Dreams Are Free is, trainer-driver Nathan Williamson admitted he was like many of those racegoers who were left gobsmacked by the stunning victory.
“I was just as surprised as everybody else at how good he went, and certainly with the time they ran, it was the most staggering thing.”
“He didn't feel like they went that quick, but he has certainly got a big motor.”
That strong pace set up by the leaders resulted in a 2.55.3 winning time in the 2400m event for Dreams Are Free.
The pacer went past the 2400m starting point seconds after the official start of the race, and he was hand-timed to run post-to-post in 2.53.3.
The remarkable performance was set up by a surprising gallop behind the gate which may have had punters tearing up their tickets on the hot favourite.
Williamson admitted he thought the race might have been over then too, and he didn’t push the pacer too hard to catch the field.
“Obviously, he made a mistake behind the gate and that wasn’t ideal.”
“He just got himself a little bit keyed up and made a mistake.”
“Once he made that mistake, I sort of thought he was probably out of the race.”
“He was giving those older horses quite a head start.”
“I was just letting him turtle along, and I was thinking that they might back off at some stage and come back to him a little bit quicker than they did.”
“But they didn't; in saying that, he got down to about the 700m, and he was still travelling nice.”
“I asked him to quicken up onto the back of them a little bit, and he did that quite easily.”
Dreams Are Free had to win yesterday’s race to qualify for the Group One Ace Of Spades event on Grand Prix Day at Addington next month.
There, Dreams Are Free will be able to show off his incredible speed and stamina against the best two-year-old pacers in New Zealand.
“He had to put a phenomenal performance up to qualify.”
“I do think as long as we can get him there and as well as he was today and obviously a mistake-free performance, get him doing it right behind the gate, he'll be competitive.”
Dreams Are Free is raced by Brendan Fahy and the Dreams Are Free Syndicate.
The pacer’s half-brother Don’t Stop Dreaming will also be at the Grand Prix meeting, where he will be the hot favourite for the Group One New Zealand Derby.