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John Thompson’s spring hopes soar with Dreamforce, Sweet Deal and Mamaragan shining at trials

The Advertiser 2020-07-31 10:13:00

Dreamforce, Sweet Deal and Mamaragan all ran unplaced but still trainer John Thompson’s spring carnival stocks soared in a short but star-studded barrier trial session on the Kensington track on Friday.

The three 850m heats were loaded with some of the best racehorses in training and the Thompson trio pleased their trainer with their competitive efforts.

Nash Rawiller gave Dreamforce and easy trial with the George Ryder Stakes winner cruising into fourth placing in the opening heat behind Godolphin’s Home Of The Brave, boom young sprinter Splintex and dual Group 1 winner Con Te Partiro.

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Thompson’s talented mare Sweet Deal also ran a close fourth in her heat behind Savatiano and handy stayers Entente and Wolfe.

The final trial was taken out by champion New Zealand mare Melody Belle from two-time Group 1-winning miler Fierce Impact and Villiers Stakes hero Quackerjack and Thompson’s gifted colt Mamaragan closed for fifth.

“This was their first trials, the plan is to give them another trial before they return to racing,’’ Thompson said. “We just wanted to give them an easy time of it but I was really pleased with their efforts.



Thompson said Dreamforce will be primed for the first Group 1 race of the new season, the Winx Stakes (1400m) at Royal Randwick on August 22 while Sweet Deal is being set for the Group 2 Golden Pendant (1400m) at Rosehill on September 2.

“Dreamforce will have another trial and be ready to go for the Winx Stakes,’’ Thompson said.

“Sweet Deal finished her trial off nicely and we will look at the good mares races during the spring.

“She has never been going better than she is at the moment. She is bigger and stronger gain, my track riders say she is so powerful and full of confidence.’’

Mamaragan won the Skyline Stakes on debut then ran third in the Golden Slipper and ATC Sires Produce Stakes at his only starts during his juvenile season and he shapes as one of the most exciting three-year-olds going into the spring carnival with Thompson focusing on the Group 1 Golden Rose at Rosehill on September 2.

“I thought Mamaragan went super in his trial, he did everything right,’’ Thompson said.

“We were trying to give him an easy trial but all he wanted to do was compete so that was a good sign. He will have another trial and then resume in the San Domencio (Stakes, Rosehill on August 29).’’

At Royal Randwick on Saturday, Thompson is hoping to kickstart the new season on a winning note with Le Lude and Eteridge contesting the ATC Thank You Trainers Handicap (1800m) and Almerheri lining up in the ATC Thank You Owners Handicap (1400m).

Le Lude scored well on the Kensington track last start while Etheridge is fitter for one run back from a spell. “Etheridge did run second at her second run back in a similar race at Rosehill last preparation and she is coming up well,’’ Thompson said.

“Le Lude got all the breaks to win the other day in her previous runs, she was racing well but without any luck. She’s a mare in form and they normally hold it.’’

Thompson admitted he is having second thoughts about running Almerheri on a heavy track after the mare failed on a similar surface last start.

# Champion jockey Kerrin McEvoy rode Melody Belle in her trial win on Friday and is the mare’s likely rider when she resumes in the Group 2 Missile Stakes at Rosehill on August 8.


Trainer Joe Pride maintains his stable’s winter wave of winners is simply a result of a system he has finetuned over two decades.

Pride has prepared six winners in seven days starting with Eduardo at Rosehill last Saturday, a home-track treble at the Warwick Farm midweeks, and a Hawkesbury double two days ago.

“I believe in what I do but the good runs you get depends on the quality of horses you have in the stable,’’ Pride said. “You can work really hard for a month and not get a winner but then it can turn even though you are not doing anything differently.’’

Among Pride’s recent winners was Torun, who won on debut at Hawkesbury by nearly four lengths.

“I was as nervous as anything before the race as I have a massive opinion of him,’’ the trainer said. “I’ve had three really impressive first starters over the years – Red Oog was amazing at Kembla, Terravista bolted in at Warwick Farm and now Torun. Red Oog and Terravista developed into Group 1 horses and I do think Torun has an exciting future.

“We paid up for the Golden Rose this spring with Torun because I said to the owners we don’t want to have any regrets as this horse is going to get to that level at some point.

“Whether he can do it in his first preparation we will wait and see.’’

The Pride stable can continue their form surge at Royal Randwick on Saturday with four runners on the opening day of the new season.

They include in-form duo De Grawin in the Four Time Champion Sire Snitzel Sprint (1000m) and Derbari in the Happy Clapper Special Achievement Handicap (1600m).

De Grawin has shown good speed to score at Wyong and Nowra at her two starts this winter and Pride believes she can measure up to Sydney Saturday class.

“She is a really nice filly and is out of a good mare I trained, De Lightning Ridge, who won a Challenge Stakes,’’ Pride said. “This sort of level might come to her next preparation but it wouldn’t surprise me to see her run well.’’

Derbari was narrowly beaten by Zourhea over 1550m on the Kensington track two weeks ago but the Pride galloper does meets his rival 4kg better for their return clash.

“I think Derbari is a lovely horse and typical of what I have been doing this last part of winter,’’ Pride said.

“I haven’t cracked the code here, people have been doing it for years, but lightly weighted horses on wet tracks works really well. This race sets up nicely for Derbari.’’

Accelerato lumped 60kg when fourth to The Fire Trap at Warwick Farm midweek but Pride is favouring backing up with the sprinter in the ATC Thank You Stable Staff Handicap (1100m).

Pride said Accelerato is another example of the “light weights on wet tracks” theory as the gelding drops to 52kg for the Randwick sprint.

“He has done really well since Wednesday so I might back up with him,’’ Pride said. “He handles wet tracks and he’s very fit.’’

Pride will also saddle up stayer Kaapfever who is resuming in the ATC Thank You Owners Handicap (1400m).

Meanwhile, Pride revealed stable star Fasika is due to barrier trial at Warwick Farm next Friday in preparation for a spring campaign.

Originally published as Thompson ready to attack spring with renewed Force