John Thompson is rarely without a good horse in his stable but he cannot recall having the quality and depth of stock he has this season.
Since his split with Nathan Tinkler’s Patinack Farm, Thompson has put the polish on the likes of Group One winners First Seal, Sir John Hawkwood and Dreamforce.
The latter joined the elite ranks with a George Ryder Stakes victory in the autumn and he will be one of nine Group One winners in the Winx Stakes (1400m) at Randwick on Saturday.
But Dreamforce will have some competition for status as Thompson’s outright stable star.
His support cast of stablemates this spring include two-time stakes winner Sweet Deal, who resumes in Saturday’s Toy Show Quality (1100m), while Golden Slipper placegetter Mamaragan and the progressive Fituese make their returns in the coming weeks.
“It’s a good position to be in for a small to medium sized stable to have a few bullets to fire in the big races coming up,” Thompson said.
Dreamforce has the runs on the board and has pleased Thompson in his two trials.
He finished a narrow second to Alizee over the same course and distance first up last campaign and historically runs well fresh.
Blinkers go on for race day and while regular jockey Nash Rawiller will watch from the sidelines due to suspension, he has given Thompson some positive feedback.
“Nash came and galloped him on Tuesday, he knows the horse really well and he said he’s never felt better,” Thompson said.
“There are no Alizees in this field that are brilliant at that shorter range. There are a lot of quality horses first up that are probably looking for further and that gives him an opportunity to do well over the shorter distance.”
The scratching of early favourite Funstar, who will instead contest Saturday’s Show County Quality (1200m), has thrown the Winx Stakes market wide open.
Class gallopers Verry Elleegant and Master Of Wine, both better known over further, were equal top picks on Thursday at $6.50 with Dreamforce $7.
New Zealander Melody Belle was in commission at $10 and is a mare Thompson knows well.
She stays at his yard while in Sydney and he said she looked much better in the coat and would improve significantly on her disappointing first-up run.
It is a deep field but Thompson says that is to be expected.
“There’s no easy Group One is there?” Thompson said.
“All the good weight-for-age horses, the good stayers, they all kick off in this race each year. You expect it to have a bit of depth but it’s a good race.”