Canberra galloper Dream Runner has proven to good for his City and Provincial rivals when winning the $500,000 Little Dance at Royal Randwick on Tuesday.
Trained by Keith Dryden and ridden by Young product Tyler Schiller, Dream Runner got a soft run in behind the pace in the 1600m Country Cups feature event and travelled into the home turn in seventh position on the rail.
After turning for home, Schiller took the inside run and the pair found the front with half a furlong remaining in the race before holding off the fast-finishing Solar Apex (Chris Waller, William Pike) by 0.26 of a length, while in third and 0.93 of a length off the pace was Steely (Gerald Ryan and Sterling Alexiou, Josh Parr).
Schiller, who finished second on the Gerald Ryan and Sterling Alexiou-trained Cisco Bay in the $2 million Big Dance, was happy to get the job done for connections.
“I couldn’t have the big one, so I had to settle for the little one. But it’s great to do it for Keith. He’s a super trainer and the horse is a really genuine boy, so it was good to get the win today,” Schiller said.
The apprentice jockey was proud of Dream Runner’s efforts in the Little Dance, and he entered the event knowing he was on a live chance.
“He was very brave to still fight on after that, he copped a bit of a bump,” Schiller said.
“He had a really tough run the other day. I was confident when I saw the draw (that) he was going to get a great run then it was just trying to find a run at the top of the straight and we got one.”
Dream Runner, who is by Wilful Default and out of Sweet Submission, qualified for the Big Dance after finishing second in the $200,000 Wagga Gold Cup back in May.
The six-year-old has evolved into a very nice gelding, having started 22 times for six wins, while earning connections well over $500,000 in prizemoney in the process.
Interestingly, Dryden nearly sacked the galloper early in his career, with Dream Runner not the best track galloper, although he appears to show up on race day.
“He got under my guard first-up because he is a terrible track worker,” Dryden laughed.
“The first day we galloped him, the track work rider said he was no good and to get rid of him, but he ended up winning first-up at 40/1 or something like that. I’ve had a few like that over the years and you always have to give them a try, but I nearly didn’t with him.
“He runs 39 [seconds] on the track over 600m and that didn’t give me too much enthusiasm, but he turns into a racehorse on race days and that’s the bit that counts.”
Dreams Runner’s win in the Little Dance was a popular result around the country, with Dryden enjoying a splendid run of results of late.
In the $2 million Big Dance, Provincial and City trainers dominated proceedings, with the Kris Lees-trained Rustic Steel (Nash Rawiller, $12) winning by 0.16 of a length from the Gerald Ryan and Sterling Alexiou-trained Cisco Bay (Tyler Schiller, $9.50), while in third and 1.72 length off the winner was the Annabel Neasham-trained Sibaaq (Chad Schofield, $6.50).
For full results click here.