Keith Dryden believes ‘honest’ country horse can cause upset in town

Dream Runner. Photo: Steve Hart.

Keith Dryden knows a thing or two when it comes to causing an upset in town and the Canberra trainer has his sights set on another boilover in the 2000m Cerrone Handicap at Royal Randwick on Saturday.

Preparing consistent stayer, Dream Runner ($15), Dryden said his five-year-old, with an ounce of luck, would be thereabouts when push came to shove in the Benchmark 78 Handicap.

“He is an honest sort of horse and suited to a race like this,” Dryden said.

“He is a good each way chance. He is stepping up in grade, but stranger things have happened.

“I feel this is the first time he has drawn a barrier for some time, so hopefully he settles closer, gets a cushier run and if that all happens, he should be right in it.

“I’ve trained 33/1 winners on a Saturday before and if it all falls in to place on the day, it can happen.”

The Wilful Default gelding is a capable type, winning four times from 12 starts, which includes a 1800m Class Three TAB Highway victory at Randwick four starts back.

Since then, the country galloper has been racing in town, and most recently finished second in the 1800m Benchmark 72 Handicap on the Kensington surface back on September 15, after running third in the 2400m Benchmark 72 Handicap, again on the Kensington on September 1.

“He has been going nicely without a lot of luck,” Dryden said.

“He has been competitive and that’s all I can ask of him in town.”

Funnily enough, Dryden never envisioned regular trips to town with Dream Runner, admitting he nearly sacked the quirky gelding before his first start.

“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.”

When it comes to Saturday’s assignment, Tommy Berry has been booked to take the ride, while at his previous four starts, the crème de la crème of Sydney’s jockeys ranks, including Hugh Bowman, Kerrin McEvoy and James McDonald and Berry, have all been in Dream Runner’s saddle.

Dryden said there was no particular reason for the jockey carousel either, explaining it was just a matter of taking who he could, when he could.

“It’s that time of year, we get stuck behind Waller, Freedman and those sort of blokes,” Dryden said.

“They have those good jockeys on hold. It’s a matter of getting them when they are available and that’s what we did with Tommy.

“As it stood, yesterday at 10am, I had nobody, but Tommy’s man called me after his ride didn’t accept and that’s why he is riding.”

Albeit he is in good form, Dream Runner does have a tough task ahead of him on Saturday, coming up against some real up-and-coming stayers in the form of Herman Hesse ($4.20), Solar Apex ($4.40) and Yiyi ($6).