PALACE Of Dreams, with two close seconds and good speed ratings to her name, had arguably as good a chance as most in Saturday’s Gr3 Pretty Polly Stakes over 1100m. That she paid R29 for a win was due to the fact that she comes from the small Vaal yard of owner-trainer Romeo Francis and that punters had drawn a line through her name as a result, favouring the fillies from the top stables.
But as often happens in two-year-old races, an underdog came through to take the loot. A daughter of Ridgemont Highlands’ terrific young stallion Potala Palace, Palace Of Dreams appreciated the extra 100m of her third career start. When the race seemed to have developed into a late match between the favourites Fly Away and Gin Fizz, she flashed up in the last few strides under Ryan Munger and won a good race.
“Coming back down the straight she ducked because it was her first time here and she’s not used to the surroundings,” said jockey Ryan Munger, who handled Palace Of Dreams well. When we came to the 200m I could see Mr De Kock’s horse (Gin Fizz) and Mr Tarry’s runner (Emerald Tiara) on my inside but when I asked her to quicken, she did it well and it was a gutsy win for a small filly. I am pleased for Mr Francis, he trains a small string at the Vaal, many of them are battlers.”
Francis snapped Palace Of Dreams up for a measly R15,000 at the National Two-Year-Old Sale, a price no Potala Palace offspring will be sold for ever again. She’s from Cherry Berry Bim, a daughter of successful broodmare sire Spectrum. Kudo’s to the veteran trainer for finding this plum. The success of the small man continues to foster big dreams, and those are more valuable than ever in the great game of racing.