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Big Dance bound Dream Runner highlights quality TAB Federal Tony Campbell Memorial Cup field

Keith Dryden’s Dream Runner sits eligible for the $2m Big Dance on Melbourne Cup Day after a strong second placing in the 2022 Wagga Gold Cup back in May. The talented galloper kicked off his preparation in style a fortnight ago when winning an Open Handicap (1200m) on his home track.

On that day, Dream Runner carried the top weight of 61kgs after apprentice Anna Roper’s 2kg claim and he will have to repeat that effort in this Friday’s TAB Federal Memorial Cup (1400m) after being designated 64kgs by the Handicapper.

Anna Roper will again take 2kgs off, as the son of Wilful Default ramps up his efforts for his grand final, the Big Dance.

Trainer Keith Dryden is excited by Dream Runner’s prospects this preparation after an impressive showing first up.

“He was really good last start, he’s going really well this horse.” Dryden said. “It’s going to be a bit harder here with a heavier track but it’s important for his preparation that he gets a run and then has one more before his main goal, the Big Dance.”

“He’s drawn wide so we will try and do what we did last start and find some cover before getting out and going around them.”

One of the highlights of the Canberra racing calendar, the TAB Federal Tony Campbell Memorial Cup celebrates the life of legendary local race caller Tony Campbell.

“Tony was the race caller when I started in Canberra racing.” Dryden said. “He was a wonderful bloke and it would be great to win his race.”

The 16th edition of the Tony Campbell Memorial Cup will feature a full field of 12 plus four emergencies and is Race Eight on the nine race program.

A race earlier, in the Sky Racing Race Callers Cup (1000m), Dryden has two quality sprinters in Shores of Avalon and Fangela returning.

“They are both quality horses who are realistic chances first up.” Dryden said. “We have 12 runners engaged on Friday, including some emergencies, so we’re hoping for a big day for the stable.”

In celebration of the Tony Campbell Memorial Cup, three of the State’s best race callers, Darren Flindell, Mitch Manners and Anthony Manton, will be on-course sharing the duties calling three races each.