Sydney horseman Gregory Hickman is hoping for a good run at Rosehill Gardens in Saturday’s Winter Cup with Dream Folk who heads towards the Grafton Cup next month.
Formerly prepared by the late Guy Walter, 33-start galloper Dream Folk is a rising six-year-old son of Dream Ballad whose latest victory was over 2400m at Kembla Grange in mid-March.
Since then he’s been racing consistently over slightly less distance including two weeks ago at Rosehill when Sam Clipperton was in the saddle for the $85,000 Schweppes Handicap (2000m) on June 13.
Jumping as a genuine outsider at $51 to win, Dream Folk was up on the seed throughout and looked a winning chance before being nudged out in the closing stages to cross just a quarter-length away third behind the Chris Waller-trained duo of Reigning and Bagman.
Now the horse will back-up with a Rosehill return this weekend stepping up in class for a shot at the $100,000 ATC Winter Cup (2400m).
Last year’s Winter Cup was an all-Waller affair, Sydney’s best trainer preparing the first four over the line including the winner Secessio who went on to run a distant second behind Gai Waterhouse’s runaway winner Queenstown in the $150,000 Listed Grafton Cup (2350m).
This year’s Grafton Cup runs on June 9 and is on the agenda for Hickman’s improving Dream Folk post the Winter Cup run on Saturday.
“He is the one horse I got out of Guy’s,” Hickman, who has only just started to come around to the idea of the Grafton Cup with the horse, told The Sydney Morning Herald.
“He is a good stayer but the problem for me has been getting consistent racing with him.
“The owners mentioned the Grafton Cup for him a while and I have to say that I thought it was a long way away but he has earned his way there with his past couple of runs.”
Dream Folk has been in work for Hickman since October but with his runs well spaced he has been kept fresh, one key to the horse’s recent good form along with riding him from the back of the pack as he was for the Kembla Grange win.
“We have been keeping him fresh by spacing his runs and giving him a couple of days in a paddock,” Hickman said.
“At Kembla they went really slow and he just came over the top of them. We have been able to ride the same way since and he looks to really appreciate that.
“I have to say he surprised me a bit last start because he came quick at the end but I think he is ready for 2400m again now.”
Winona Costin is booked to ride Dream Folk in the Winter Cup for the first time.
“Winona has been doing quite a bit of riding for the stable recently and it is good to get her when you can,” Hickman said of the Sydney apprentice.
“She rode another double on Saturday and is up there with the better riders around at the moment and she has the advantage of the two-kilogram claim.”
The Winter Cup 2015 field is due out on Wednesday with markets up shortly after at our preferred online bookmaker Ladbrokes.com.au – home of the $500 bonus sign-up offer!