Exclusive by Alexander Grant
For owner Richard Pegum tomorrow, it is the story of a comeback and a fresh face, as December Draw and Dare to Dream attempt to qualify for this year’s Melbourne Cup down two different paths.
Following a leg fracture incurred in last year’s Caulfield Cup, December Draw has made just three starts since, and will look to make amends in this year’s edition.
Pegum says there is still more to come from the European gelding, who made an immediate impact on his arrival last Autumn before his injury saw him out for almost a year.
“He’s had three starts and he’s been quick in those twice, and he hasn’t been 100 per cent fit those starts so that’s good.
“The horse was 80 per cent fit (last start) and he’s 100 per cent fit this race. He got bumped during the corner and was probably a little bit far back,” he said.
The Kavanagh trained gelding was unlucky to not take his second Turnbull Stakes win in as many years, where he ran home strong in third after falling back mid race.
“He’s looking for a mile and a half now and there will be no excuses on Saturday,” Pegum said.
“He comes in to 11 for the draw, and the horses inside of him are a little bit slow so we’re comfortable with that.”
“The Caulfield Cup traditionally comes up as a bit of a rough race. We’re hoping to get a bit of luck and that the horse improves as much as we think he will so that we’ll get the rewards.”
Dare to Dream will be searching for a first win in the country in tomorrow’s listed Tattersall’s Club Cup at Randwick while most eyes will be fixed on Melbourne.
The four year old import, formerly by the name Dare to Dance, has yet to make a great impact in Australia but Pegum couldn’t speak more highly of the horse.
“I believe it’s the horse with the most potential we have ever brought over here,” he said.
The high praise appears justified, with the younger of Pegum’s two Cup hopefuls rallying from last at the 800 to take third place in the Craven Plate at last start.
“Hopefully he wins on Saturday, which qualifies us for the cup, and then we’ll go down to Melbourne for the Hotham (Lexus Stakes),” Pegum said.
“This will only be his seventh start. He’s a young horse and we’ll take it as it comes with him.
“If (he doesn’t make the Cup field), there’s always next year for him. But I think he comes up beautifully.”
It is the same route Maluckyday took in 2010, where he won both the Tattersall’s and Lexus, before finishing second to Americain in the Melbourne Cup.
Shocking (2009) and Brew (also part owned by Richard Pegum) (2000) are the most recent Melbourne Cup winners to also taste victory in the Lexus Stakes.
A pair of wins for Dare to Dream in his next two starts gives Bart Cummings a chance of taking three runners to the Cup, along with Precedence and Sanagas.
Editor’s Note : Richard Pegum is a successful race horse owner and a director of the NSW Trainers Association