Orange’s Dream Empress among Banjo Paterson Cup favourites

IN FORM: Alison Smith’s Dream Empress storms home to win her last-start at Parkes in January, she’s drawn barrier 11 on Saturday afternoon. Photo: PARKES CHAMPION POSTShe’s drawn barrier 11 and will carry second top weight in the 2017 Turfcare NSW Banjo Paterson Cup (1300m) at Towac Park on Saturday afternoon, which isn’t ideal, but Orange trainer Alison Smith’s mare Dream Empress is still rated a real chance to claim the $30,000 race.

It’s not hard to see why either.

Dream Empress, a seven-year-old bay mare by Holy Roman Emperor from Every Dream, is one of three last-start winners running in the feature race of Saturday’s TAB meeting, alongside Nick Olive’s Bring A Secret and Richard Litt’s Klisstra.

The mare’s last-start win came at Parkes in January when, also carrying second top weight, she produced a gutsy run in a strong field to claim the Parkes Services Club Australia Day Handicap (1400m) by a nose.

That day Dream Empress stormed to a two-and-a-half-length lead going into the straight at Parkes and although Kingtantes threatened, Smith’s mare held on to win.

“I was pretty happy with her that day at Parkes,” Smith said.

“It’s a pretty handy field [on Saturday], there’s some good horses running but she’s looking alright.

“She hasn’t drawn a great lane but it’s a good, long run so that shouldn’t worry her too much.”

Racing Orange executive officer Gav Pilossof rated the mare a serious chanceas did fellow Orange trainer Brad Draper, who has an outside chance in the feature in eight-year-old bay gelding Yu Jin.

Orange has a number of other chances at the meet, Smith has another in the seventh while Michael Plummer and Lee Van Den Bos both have runners as well.

Saturday’s feature, theTurfcare NSW Banjo Paterson Cup (1300m), jumps at 4.46pm. The first in the bumper seven-race program jumps at 1.36pm.

Gates at Towac Park open at noon.

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