CHAMPION jumps jockey Steven Pateman believes Awakening Dream is bigger and stronger as he lines up to win back-to-back Warrnambool Grand Annual Steeplechases at the TAB Warrnambool May Racing Carnival.
Pateman put Awakening Dream through his paces in a steeple trial at Warrnambool’s racecourse yesterday.
The nine-year-old was never out of first gear in the trial over 2400 metres and 12 fences.
“I can’t fault Awakening Dream,”Pateman said.
“Full credit to his trainer, Patrick Payne. He’s done a magnificent job preparing the horse for another tilt at the Grand Annual.
“The horse is bigger and stronger than last year when he won the Grand Annual.
“I would not want to be riding any other horse in the race.
“He just had a quiet trial, and when I say quiet I mean quiet. I never moved on the horse at any stage in the trial. I just let him have a good look around.”
Awakening Dream defeated Vindicating by 15 lengths to win last year’s Grand Annual.
It followed his second placing in the race in 2011, when Al Garhood beat him by more than four lengths.
“He’s a great jumper. I reckon that’s the main reason why he is so good,” Pateman said.
“He’s a safe jumper and can stay all day.
“His previous experience in the two Grand Annuals means he knows the course like the back of his hand.
“I’ve got to give all the credit to Patrick Payne. He’s trained the horse for the race.
“He put Awakening Dream straight in the paddock after last year’s win.
“The horse has not been over-taxed.
“He’s been well looked after by Patrick and his staff.”
Awakening Dream has won eight of his 11 starts in jumping races.