YEAR: 2006


It was a dream of a catch drive for Canterbury horseman Ricky May, and something you only really read about once in a blue moon. In similar shades to this year's Group One Dominion Handicap when Colin De Filippi reined Pompallier to victory in his first drive, May rated Bailey's Dream perfectly in his first attempt to win the Group One Easter Cup on Saturday night.

Regular driver Todd Mitchell remained in Hawera for the weekend circuit, missing the Cup drive behind the Steven Reid representative. In 25 career starts Mitchell had only missed three drives on Bailey's Dream, one of which was the New Zealand Free-For-All when he had sentimental commitments to two-time Cup winner Just An Excuse. On those occasions Brendon Hill had stepped up to the plate.

Going into the Group One feature Bailey's Dream was one of four four-year-olds in the line-up. Elliot Futurity winner, and second favourite, Mr Bojangles ended his Easter Cup campaign as the tapes flew, galloping hopelessly on two occasions in the first 800m. The hot pot was once again Auckland Cup winner Mi Muchacho. He was forced to work hard three-wide for almost a lap to get to the front, and when pressured on the home turn showed his weakness yet again at Addington. Eventual winner Bailey's Dream flew inside the last 600m, crushing the favourite on the home turn before bolting away from his closest pursuers, Mighty Cullen and Imagine That.

The Dream Away gelding secured victory by one length at the finish post, while game four-year-old Mighty Cullen sprinted from three-back on the fence for second. Last week's feature winner Imagine That rallied after securing the trail for third place behind her stablemate. The favourite Mi Muchacho battled into sixth equal and will return home without a South Island victory.

Bailey's Dream paced the 3200m stand in 4.03.6, clocking a mile rate of 2.02.4. He paced his final 800m in 58.0.

Trainer Steven Reid has indicated that the gelding will now target the Messenger Championship for four-year-olds at Alexandra Park on May 5. There the Easter Cup winner will once again face the country's leading pacer, Mainland Banner.

Credit: Harness Racing NZ

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