New group race has mix of proven, unknowns

The proven and the unknown will clash in the inaugural running of the Group Two Entain Two-Year-Old Fillies Stakes at Winton today.

Southland’s newest group race, which comes courtesy of the new operators of the New Zealand TAB, is part of a bigger and richer than ever Winton Cup Day.

Forever Dream is set to start a warm favourite in the Entain Two-Year-Old Fillies Stakes after putting the Group Two Leonard Memorial Stakes on her resume last weekend.

The two-year-old faces the big task of travelling to Southland and competing at Group Two level just six days later.

It is an assignment trainer Cran Dalgety thinks his filly is capable of handling.

“We have a filly that is in the zone and fit and well, so we are heading down south to have a go at a lovely stake,” Dalgety said.

“She knew she had had a run after her win at Addington, it was a big battle up that straight and it was her determination that got her there.”

“But she has come through the week well and we head south with full faith in her.”

Forever Dream showed crucial gate speed in her last start win, blasting across in front of her rivals to lead easily.

Barrier 6 hardly looks like an inconvenience today considering how fast the two-year-old can leave the gate.

There are many more unknowns about the leading Southland hope in the province’s new group feature.

Captains Mistress comes into the Entain Two-Year-Old Fillies Stakes with just one start to her name and plenty to prove.

But her trials both before her debut second placing, and more recently, point to her having all the ability needed to win for trainer-driver Nathan Williamson.

“I was really happy with her last trial, it was just what I wanted heading into this week,” Williamson said.

“It wasn’t an overly taxing run and I am happy with her. She has trained well this week.”

“So everything looks good.”

Captains Mistress has drawn in a much more tricky spot than Forever Dream, being handed barrier 7, outside her main rival who has speed to burn.

Williamson brings his stable star Dreams Are Free to Winton Cup Day to seal his start in next weekend’s Group Two Southern Supremacy Stakes.

The pacer comes in fresh following a luckless Group One Northern Derby tilt, but his trainer is confident his star three-year-old is forward enough to run a nice race.

“I took him into Ascot Park this week and he trained nicely, I am happy with him.”

Dreams Are Free will clash with his stablemate Miraculous in today’s Southern Supremacy Stakes Heat.