By Brad Gray
“She’s a ripper mare and the dream’s alive for Just Dreaming! She qualifies for the big dance!”
Race caller Luke Marlow summed it up beautifully as the Kris Lees-trained four-year-old charged home to beat Manhattan Mist and the fast-finishing Witches in the first Provincial Championships qualifier.
The top three from each heat qualify so Kim Waugh’s Manhattan Mist and Brad Widdup’s Witches also book their spot in the final to be held at Royal Randwick on Day 2 of The Championships on April 14.
Just Dreaming, who ran fifth first up in the G3 Triscay Stakes, proved too classy for her rivals with TAB slashing her price from $8 into equal $4.60 favourite for the final.
“She’ll be even better over 1400m and if there is a bit of rain around at Randwick, which there can be at that time of year, it won’t hurt her at all,” said Kris Lees’ stable rep Cameron Swan.
The daughter of Snitzel certainly didn’t get all the favours with Aaron Bullock forced to cover plenty of the Wyong track.
“There wasn’t that much speed early, it was a funnily run race and then there was a lot of speed in the mid-part of the race. I didn’t get too worried but what I didn’t like was coming to the 600m was I was in a position where I was getting flushed but full credit to her. This preparation Kris took the blinkers off and it’s worked wonders,” Bullock said.
“It’s going to be a pretty good final with these three.”
Kim Waugh was thrilled with the run of Manhattan Mist, who keeps raising the bar every time he sees a race track.
“What a fantastic run,” Waugh gushed, “The pressure was on from the start and he came from a wide barrier and did a lot of work through no fault of anyone. He was home for all money but a very good horse beat him. He’s in the final so we’re over the moon.”
“He is going ahead in leaps and bounds. The final certainly won’t be out of reach for him that’s for sure.”
Manhattan Mist moved from $11 into $8 with TAB for the $500,000 final while Witches is $26 into $15.