Paul Hunter will unleash Dream Lifter in the $75,000 Fitzpatrick Plate (1232m) at Albany on Sunday and believes if there is a chink in the talented gelding’s armour it could be race conditioning.
The son of Danehill Express hasn’t raced since October and despite a top first-up record and a recent trial win, Hunter is concerned by the gelding’s fitness levels.
“His trial was fair without being brilliant and I was a little disappointed to be honest,” said Hunter.
“He tired late but I have to keep in mind it was his first hit out in six months.
“He has trained on well and will take a lot of benefit out of it.
“It’s a good starting point and he has the advantage of not having to travel.
“But there are several others who will have the fitness and racing edge.”
Although Dream Lifter has been plagued by feet issue throughout his career, he has racked up a consistent strike rate with four wins and five placings from 12 starts.
He had a brief winter and spring campaign for Jim Taylor in Perth before returning to Hunter after running last to Onadowntowntrain at Ascot.
“He is high quality when he is at his top,” said Hunter.
“He is an exciting hope when you think he has beaten a horse like Hussy By Choice.
“He is in terrific order and looking well.
“He will be competitive and there will be no excuses if he gets beaten.”
Dream Lifter, who has one win and a second from two first-up attempts, will be ridden by Hunter’s nephew, Mitchell Pateman.
The young jockey will start from the second widest gate in the field off 11.
“I will leave it up to Mitchell but he can go back or forward,” said Hunter.
“He is adaptable and certainly not one dimensional.”
Hunter says despite a distance query and the might of the visiting Perth rivals The Danehill Rose deserves her spot in the XXXX Gold Albany Cup (2100m).
The Danehill Express mare scored a winning hat trick over shorter distances earlier in her campaign but has yet to record a career win beyond 1600m.
“I think she has a touch of ability,” said Hunter.
“I’m not concerned by the distance because she did finish 2 ½ lengths from Moreish in the Natasha Stakes (2200m).
“I could have taken the soft option but it’s worth having a throw at the stumps.
“It’s a race that I would dearly love to win.
“Obviously Ora Dare and Global Flirt are the hardest to beat.”
The Danehill Rose, drawn in gate two, will be in the hands of Pateman’s apprentice daughter, Casey.