They say a week is a long time in racing, so what does that make 33 months? That’s how long it had been since the Ben & JD Hayes-trained Dark Dream last won, 1041 days to be exact, but the drought came to an end in the California Memory Living Legends Plate (1700m) at Flemington on Saturday.
The 2018 Group 1 Queensland Derby winner was formerly trained by Kerry Parker before being sold to Hong Kong, going on to win twice under Frankie Lor at Sha Tin. Since returning to Australia, the seven-year-old had placed his past two at Werribee and Caulfield, before getting the job done by a length at headquarters at Saturday.
Lindsay Park stable representative Dom Rhoden said the win makes him difficult to place, with a trip across the Bass Strait on the agenda.
“He’s been running very well without winning, so it’s great to get the money today,” he said. “His rating will go up again off that now, so he becomes a little bit difficult to place. There’s another benchmark 100 race in three weeks we might have a look at, and we might even look at a Tasmanian trip with him.”
Dark Dream and Luke Nolen, picture Racing Photos
The son of All American jumped on terms but found himself toward the back of the field once the field had settled. The pace was good through the middle stages, and Luke Nolen was able to get a lovely trail into the race, peeling off heels with 500m to run to be the widest upon straightening. The seven-year-old got to the lead with 200m to run and powered away over the concluding stages to win comfortably.
It may not have panned out how Nolen had expected, but he expects the seven-year-old to keep the wins coming.
“Ideally I wanted to be a bit closer in the run, but he just didn’t have the speed to take advantage of the better draw, so I had to take my medicine,” he said.
“I thought I could have timed my run a bit better. I ended up getting to the front a bit sooner than I ideally anticipated, but he was really competitive through the line.
“I took advantage of the advantage I had then and he held it through the line. Albeit he hasn’t won for a while, but there’s no reason why he can’t go and win a couple now placed to advantage.”
Dark Dream ($6.00) beat home the $2.50 favourite of the eight-horse field Somerset Maugham (Ire), with Under My Spell ($5.50) a further three-quarters of a length behind.