Race favourite Dream Queen and rider Samantha Collett proved too strong in the run home as they dashed away from Sam Weatherley on stablemate Follow Your Dreams in the closing stages to win comfortably by over four lengths, while their compatriot Van Diesel, with Terry Moseley aboard, came from last on the home turn to snatch third.
It was a welcome return to the winner’s enclosure for Dream Queen, who had finished second behind the impressive debutant Tsunami Sam, to kick off her latest campaign as Follow Your Dreams finished a well beaten fourth in the same race.
“That was a pretty special result as I never thought I could trifecta the race in my wildest dreams,” Rae said.
“The first two home are smart customers, but the third bloke (Van Diesel) is an out and out stayer who I thought would probably get run off his feet.
“To see him make up that much ground was a big surprise, but means we’ve got plenty to look forward to with him.”
Rae makes no secret of the high regard he has for both Dream Queen and Follow Your Dreams, although he admitted he may have made a mistake leading into their first up efforts a fortnight ago.
“I think both Dream Queen and Follow Your Dreams may have been underdone last time,” he said.
“That’s what can happen sometimes as I was trying to look after them, as they both have big campaigns ahead of them, but I had been expecting them to get closer to the winner that day than they did.
“They both took benefit from the run and that showed today as they pretty much gapped the rest of the field.
“Sam Weatherley had asked me before the race how he should ride his mount and I just told him to go forward and take luck out of the equation but be prepared to run second as I thought Dream Queen was the best horse in the race.”
Rae will now take a few days to work out what to do next with the pair having originally planned to line Dream Queen up in the Listed Courtesy Ford Ryder Stakes (1200m) at Otaki on July 31 and Follow Your Dreams in the Group 3 Cambridge Stud Northland Breeders’ Stakes (1200m) at Ruakaka on August 21.
“I didn’t really want to start them against each other again next time, but I might have to rethink that now,” Rae said.
“Dream Queen was going to the Ryder Stakes, but the track there could be very deep and testing, which would be a tough ask.
“She doesn’t need it like that and it’s a hard thing to travel all that way for a $50,000 race when there is an $80,000 one on your back doorstep just a couple of weeks later.
“Follow Your Dreams has been set for the Breeders’ Stakes so they might end up clashing again.
“The long-term plan is a shot at the Group One three-year-old races at Riccarton in November, so there is a lot of water to go under the bridge before then.”
The Group 1 Al Basti Equiworld Dubai New Zealand 2000 Guineas (1600m) for three-year-old colts and geldings will be run on the first day of New Zealand Cup Week at Riccarton on November 6, while the Group 1 Barneswood Farm New Zealand 1000 Guineas for the three-year-old fillies is set down for the last day of the carnival on November 13.