Merlin has assumed favouritism over DON’T STOP DREAMING for the New Zealand Derby at Addington on Sunday after his defeat of the Purdon star in the leadup last week.

Not the whole story

“We were disappointed not so much with the run but how far he was beaten. It seemed too bad to be true”  Nathan said

It was. And it means there could be a turnaround in the classic tomorrow.

“We did blood tests on a few of them after that meeting. They had just run a little below our expectations. And sure enough some white cell counts were high. Don’t Stop Dreaming was the worst of all”

“Usually he has a count of around six for best race performance and his count initially was close to 10. Treatment lowered it and he is back to his best count going into the race on Sunday. His work has been right up to the mark”

Don’t Stop Dreaming had proven almost unbeatable in the top features this year and on the big days has usually had the measure of Merlin. His keen rival has drawn inside him again this week but Mark regards Don’t Stop Dreaming

as a genuine star and it will be a surprise if horse and driver are not at peak on Sunday.

The stable also holds a strong hand in the Ace of Spades two year olds -the pacers-though Nathan favours WE WALK BY FAITH over MAJOR HOT.

“What I like about him is that he is still on the way up,he’s improving with every race and he has the gate speed to get a position. Major Hot has been at his best level for a while  and    doesn’t have the same capacity to improve further on this prep.”


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