Day At The Track

Lewis looking forward to drive

09:32 PM 06 Apr 2016 NZST
Comment (...) Tweet Share Email Print
Chris Lewis
Chris Lewis
(Lets) Chase The Dream to debut in WA Derby Prelude

Champion harness racing reinsman Chris Lewis received a surprise telephone call from Christchurch yesterday (Tuesday) when leading New Zealand trainer Mark Purdon asked him to drive superstar colt Lets Chase The Dream in the Smorgasbord WA Derby Prelude at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

The son of Bettor's Delight arrived in Perth by air on Monday and is the nominal favourite for the $200,000 WA Derby over 2536m the following Friday night.

“I’m looking forward to driving such a good horse,” Lewis said. “Most of Purdon’s horses are pretty relaxed and laid-back and this colt should’ve travelled over okay from New Zealand.”

Lets Chase The Dream has drawn the inside barrier on the back line in Friday’s 2130m event, perhaps leaving Lewis in a quandary whether to take the sit behind the polemarker and speedy frontrunner Overboard Again and hoping for the opportunity to get into the clear during the race or to restrain the colt in the early stages and get him off the pegs.

“Purdon is certainly a great trainer and I haven’t yet had a chance to discuss tactics with him,” Lewis said. “I would have liked to have drawn anywhere else than the inside of the back line.”

Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen have prepared Lets Chase The Dream for his 17 starts in New Zealand for eight wins, three seconds and three thirds for $338,246 in prizemoney.

Rasmussen has driven the colt 15 times for seven wins and six placings. As a two-year-old Lets Chase The Dream won two group 1 classics, the $100,000 Young Guns Cardigan Bay Stakes over 1700m at Alexandra Park  and the $156,400 NZ Sires Stakes over 1950m at Addington. He beat champion colt Lazarus by a neck at Alexandra Park and defeated stablemates Motu Premier and Lazarus at Addington.

He has finished second to Lazarus in three group 1 classics as a three-year-old this season, the 1950m Sires Stakes at Addington, the 2200m NZ Yearling Sales Series final at Alexandra Park and the 2700m Northern Derby at Alexandra Park at his most recent outing, on March 11.

Lets Chase The Dream began fast from barrier six at his latest appearance and raced three wide early and then in the breeze before taking the lead after 600m. Rasmussen then opted to take the sit behind Lazarus, who sprinted over the final 800m in 55.3sec. and the last 400m in 27.6sec. He rated 1.57.4.

Leading WA reinsman Gary Hall jun., who will handle the brilliant Chicago Bull in the Derby final, said that Lets Chase The Dream looked the pacer to beat in the Derby final, but considered he was slightly vulnerable in Friday night’s prelude from the awkward drawn on the inside of the back line at his first Australian run, only four days after the flight from New Zealand.

“You would imagine that whatever Lets Chase The Dream does this week, he will improve on,” he said. “If he goes back and then around the whole field and goes 1.56 or better and wins easily, you would say that the Derby is over. I’d like to think that he is beatable first-up here.”

Hall will drive New Zealand-bred gelding Mach Time in the prelude. Mach Time, trained by Gary Hall sen., will start from the No. 4 barrier on the front line. The gelding won at five of his 16 starts in New Zealand and made an excellent Australian debut when he began speedily from the No. 5 barrier and set a solid pace before sprinting the final quarter in 27.1sec. to beat Nitro Lad by two lengths over 2100m at Bunbury last Saturday night.

He won at his final two outings in New Zealand, over 2200m and 2700m at Cambridge on December 24 and January 1, respectively. He revealed tremendous early speed from the back line on December 24 to take the lead after 250m before setting the pace and defeating Mastercraftsman. 

Then at his most recent outing he started from the back line and mustered great early pace to settle in third position before taking the lead after 600m.

“Mach Time will improve a lot off his first-up win in Bunbury,” Hall said. “He’s got good gate speed, but I won’t be able to cross Overboard Again, who ran a great trial at Byford on Sunday morning. He worked his way to the front and just ran. He won by more than eight lengths from Stroganoff, rating 1.56.3 over 2130m on a track which wasn’t overly quick.

“Mach Time can win on Friday night, particularly if her raced one-out and one-back, with Lets Chase The Dream in the breeze and putting a heap of pressure on the leader.”

Clint Hall will be in the sulky behind Overboard Again, who has had only two starts, for a fifth behind Vanquished over 2000m at Otago on January 2 when he finished strongly from tenth, and a three-length victory over Crackamoa in a 2000m event at the Northern Southland Club in Gore on January 14 when he was untroubled to set the pace from barrier two.

Ideal Tyson, a winner at nine of his 16 starts for Pinjarra trainer Gary Elson, will start from barrier five with Nathan Turvey in the sulky. The colt warmed up for this week’s assignment with an effortless trial win, rating 1.55.9 over 2185m at Pinjarra on Sunday morning.

Banjup trainer Colin Brown fared poorly in the draw, with Just Get On Black drawing the outside (barrier No. 9) on the front line and Franco Rayner drawing barrier six.

Boyanup trainer-reinsman Justin Prentice was disappointed when Natural Disaster drew out wide at barrier seven. But he has not given up in his quest to qualify the gelding for the Derby final.

“It’s going to be tough from the draw, but I think he went sensational at his latest run (when he started from barrier six and finished powerfully to be second to Johnny Disco in the Country Derby at Pinjarra on March 21),” Prentice said.

“He’s got the motor to run the 2536m of the Derby final. I’m disappointed he didn’t get a run in the Western Gateway Pace last week and hopefully he proves that he deserves a Derby start.”

by Ken Casellas

Comment (...) Tweet Share Email Print

Read More News About...

Stallion Name

Next article: