Always the realist, Mark concedes “the best horse won” in the Hunter Cup on Saturday but he was genuinely thrilled by Don’t Stop Dreaming’s magnificent run for second especially looking toward the four year old’s Sydney campaign.

“He’s come through it well. He is going the right way from a Chariots viewpoint” Mark said.

He has yet to finally confirm which qualifying heat “Darci” will run in in Sydney with two options The Paleface Adios on February 24 earlier named the most likely a week before the Chariots of Fire. The Hondo Grattan,the alternative race is this weekend.

Saturday’s run also puts him in the frame for the Miracle Mile with a Chariots win. Have Faith in Me won that race as a four year old for All Stars stable in 2016. His co-owner Dennis  Dunford, is also a co-owner of Don’t Stop Dreaming.

While Don’t Stop Dreaming looked as if he was going to head Leap to Fame if it had been a little further near the finish of the Hunter Cup,Mark is doubtful that would have been the case.

“He was closing but I felt my fella had come to the end of his run too. At this stage of his prep though it was a great boost”

Don’t Stop Dreaming earned $A75,000 for his second placing and getting so close to the best pacer in Australasia at the moment suggested there is a lot more to come.

They ran a 1.54 mile rate for the 2765m with an overall time of 3.15.The only faster mile rate since the change of distance from 3280m was the 1.53.8 by Tiger Tara in 2019.

Mark was off to the sales Sunday morning and returns to Auckland Monday. A huge two weeks of Sales activities and Harness Millions preps. will keep him busy and  with trips to Sydney on the cards it is a tight agenda in coming weeks.

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