John Thompson will unleash a two-pronged attack at Rosehill on Saturday as he chases his first stakes win in Sydney since last September.
Dreamforce and Special Missile occupy the top two lines of betting for the Winter Stakes (1400m) and Thompson believes the geldings are ready to return to the winners circle after strong showings this winter.
Stable star Dreamforce looked to have the Civic Stakes sewn up at Rosehill two weeks ago, before Liapari jumped out of the ground to edge out Thompsons son of Fastnet Rock at the post.
Jockey Brenton Avdulla retains the ride and will have to steer Dreamforce from the carpark for the third time in three runs this preparation, but Thompson wasnt concerned about the wide barrier.
Its the outside barrier for the third run in a row, but it hasnt stopped him the first two times, Thompson said.
That [Civic Stakes] was a close one. He was five weeks between runs going into that run and drew the outside barrier and just had to work a bit to get across and that just probably took its toll the last five centimetres of the race.
He does go nice fresh but he doesnt have to be [fresh]. Hes a big, strong horse so I reckon two weeks between runs is going to be better than fresh like he was last time.
While Dreamforce is chasing a fourth win from his past five starts, Special Missile is out to snap a frustrating winning drought which stretches back to August last year.
The four-year-old son of Smart Missile has finished within three-quarters of a length in his past four starts, and with a lighter weight and barrier three Thompson said Special Missile would get his chance.
Hes Mr Consistency, hes probably been a bit stiff not to have won one but hes not far away, he said. He hasnt carried a light weight like this for a long time so he wont know whats hit him with no weight on his back. Its a good barrier, hell be out in front, the jockey [Rachel King] should suit. Both horses are at the top of their game.
Thompsons pair will have to overcome New Zealand galloper Hiflyer if the stable is to salute in the race.
The Peter Lock-trained five-year-old has never raced in Australia, and comes into Saturdays meet off a solid win at Ruakaka over 1200m in open grade. He won two group 3s in New Zealand over the spring and looks to be the class horse in the race, but needs to overcome 59.5kg if hes to prevail in an open field. We decided to test him out against some nicer horses and if he comes through OK wed go home and come back to target some of the good races in the spring, Lock told Racing NSW this week.
James Buckley writes on AFL for The Sydney Morning Herald.
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