DARCI’S DREAM in battle with Te Akau Stable Mate, FLAMING, in Ashburton Stakes race

Flaming and Darci’s Dream have the task of upholding a proud stable record in Saturday’s Listed $50,000 Ray Coupland Stakes.

Matamata’s Te Akau Racing has won the Ashburton three-year-old feature six times, three of them under current trainer Jason Bridgman.

“It’s been a great race to us and a good race for me. In my four years at Te Akau, I’ve won it three times and Rock ‘n’ Pop threw the race away when he finished second to Shuka. He shied out and veered wide and lost a fair bit of ground,” Bridgman said.

“It’s a nice lead-up to the Guineas races at Riccarton. It’s doesn’t have the same pressure of the Sarten Memorial at Te Rapa and it’s treated our horses well.”

Bridgman’s previous winners were King’s Rose in 2010, Abidewithme in 2012 and Costa Viva in 2013, while Te Akau earlier won with King’s Chapel in 2003, Sea Saint in 2005 and Princess Coup in 2006.

King’s Chapel progressed to Gr. 1 2000 Guineas success, while King’s Rose and Costa Viva went on to win the Gr. 1 1000 Guineas, the race in the sights of Flaming and Darci’s Dream.

Both fillies bring strong form, with Flaming finishing second to Group One winner O’Marilyn resuming in the Gr. 3 Gold Trail Stakes at Hastings last month and Darci’s Dream winning both her starts as a three-year-old, following a first-up win at Taupo with success in the Listed Canterbury Belle Stakes at Riccarton.

“Darci’s Dream looks near her peak now, condition-wise, but she’d probably prefer a bit more moisture around,” Bridgman said.

“Flaming has shown more class on top of the ground, but they are both live chances. Darci’s Dream has probably got the edge fitness-wise but Flaming has got the better form credentials, coming out of a good run in the Gold Trail Stakes. It’s going to be a good match-up because there’s not much between them.” – NZ Racing Desk
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