Paul Hunter can see no reason why Dream Lifter can’t repeat his win and go back-to-back in the Cyril Flower Stakes (1200m) at Ascot on Saturday.
Dream Lifter has been plagued by feet issues for the majority of his career and Hunter has had to carefully manage his campaigns.
The Cyril Flower Stakes is Dream Lifter’s third start in nearly a year and he has not raced since finishing second in the Mungrup Stud Sprint (1200m) at Mount Barker on January 22.
But Hunter says Dream Lifter, a homebred for Great Southern owners Gary Cummins and Neville Matthews, had the fitness base to run another strong race.
“He is in good order and I wouldn’t waste my time if he wasn’t,” Hunter said.
“He has come through his last run and recovered well.
“He has had plenty of beach work and had a good gallop on Tuesday.
“He is going just as well as this time last year and is in good nick.
“It’s a pretty even field, but he will run a competitive race.”
The Cyril Flower Stakes holds strong appeal for Dream Lifter, a fighting win over Red Ora 12-months ago the geldings first in stakes company.
The son Danehill Express has won eight of 22 races, pocketing just over half a million dollars in prizemoney and Westspeed bonus.
He is looking to create his own slice of race history by becoming just the second horse to win the Cyril Flower Stakes in consecutive years.
Corporate Gun, trained by Geoff Roberts, defeated Play Dice in 1999 and Clever Jev in 2000.
In Saturday’s Cyril Flower Stakes Dream Lifter has drawn barrier three. Hunter’s nephew, Mitchell Pateman, maintains the ride.
“Mitchell knows this horse and rides him as well as anyone,” Hunter said.
“He can make his own luck, but won’t be afraid to lead if he has to.”
Pateman can join Shaun O’Donnell and Alana Williams as the only riders to win back-to-back Cyril Flower Stakes.
O’Donnell won on Caliway (1993) and Sir Tinka (1994). Williams guided Devil’s Dance (2004) and On Target (2005).
RWWA: Julio Santarelli