He is dominating the Western Australian trainers’ premiership, so when Adam Durrant has a high opinion on a horse you sit up and take notice.
In this case it is Constant Dreaming, the favourite at $1.85 with Unibet for the $250,000 City Of Belmont W.A. Oaks (2400m) at Ascot on Saturday.
Durrant’s developing three-year-old brings excellent form into the feature, comfortably winning her past two starts – the $125,000 Natasha Stakes (2200m) and $125,000 Ascot 1000 Guineas (1800m).
Indeed, the filly has become a punter’s dream.
And those who back her again could be in for another memorable afternoon because all horses will be starting with 55.5 kg on their backs, and star hoop Clint Johnston-Porter is set for the ride.
“We’re very happy with the horse’s condition and the way she’s come through (her past two starts),” Durrant told Horsebetting.com.au.
“Obviously, it’s nice to get back to equal weights with the other horses. But it’s always tricky when you’re the favourite and you’re the one who’s being hunted in some respects.
“That’s because you’ve strung those couple of wins together. She’s done nothing wrong and I wouldn’t swap her for any other horse.
“We’ll cross our fingers and hope for no bad luck with a good day and good rider on board.”
Durrant is already delighted with Constant Dreaming’s versatility, and all the signs point to her enjoying an impressive future.
She led for most of the way in the Natasha Stakes, after settling behind the pack and leaving them behind on the straight in the Ascot 1000 Guineas.
“She’s reasonably foolproof in that regard. She can take up a nice prominent position in the long races, and then kick off a decent tempo that she did two starts ago,” Durrant said.
“And the other day when they went pretty steady she was able to adapt a bit and go to the front early, and then be race savvy enough to chill out and let them go around her.
“She ticks a lot of boxes, but as we know it’s a horse race. On weights and measures and times she should just win.
“But as we know they don’t always eventuate like that. You can only imagine with maturity if we handle her correctly and don’t burn her she’s going to be quite a handy stayer.
“We’re happy with her and hopefully she can get another notch on her belt.”
There is a temptation to run her in the $400,000 WA Derby on April 9, but Durrant said it would be mission accomplished if his filly can win a third consecutive staying race on Saturday.
“There’s the option of the Derby. But I think she’s done her job if she comes out and wins,” he said.
“She’s probably peaked for Saturday. She’s lightened off and she looks as light as you’d want her.
“We’ll probably ease up on her after this run and put her away for a couple of months, and let her do some growing.”
Johnston-Porter judged Constant Dreaming’s staying power to perfection with his ride in the Natasha Stakes, getting out to an early lead and keeping it for most of the race to win comfortably by almost a length.
Holly Taylor’s Feels Danish was second that day, and her three-year-old filly will start the third favourite at $8.50 on Saturday.
“Clint rode her really well last start with a bit of pressure on him. Lucy (Warwick) rode her the start before (in the $125,000 Ascot 1000 Guineas), and Clint was on the stablemate and he took over,” Durrant said.
“So there was a little bit of pressure there for him to make sure he got the job done properly and he certainly did.
“He’ll be riding from barrier four, so we’ll hope for a nice even tempo and we should be really hard to beat.
“I think the way of riding her will be to just have her comfortable for the first three quarters of the race to then anywhere from the 800 onwards.
“Tempo related, you can then put your foot down like the way Lucy rode her. We’d like to ride her in that sort of way (on Saturday) and make it a proper staying test for her.
“It needs to be genuine because she’s got good staying blood on both sides of her family, and we want to make sure we’ll expose the opposition that might lack that staying ability.”