Troy Blacker is the defending champion in the Bendigo Cup and his horse Dream Pedlar is back in 2011 to defend his title.
Last year he got up by the shortest of margins at the finish but it was enough for the Tasmanian to win the race and a black type credit to his name.
This year though the Bendigo Cup is a whole new race after it was decided the event would now satisfy acceptance clauses for the Melbourne Cup.
That’s attracted a new level of race horse and Dream Pedlar will need to be well on his game to make it back to back wins.
“This year’s a fractions stronger being a Melbourne Cup qualifier,” Blacker said.
He comes in off a disappointing finish well down the track in the Caulfield Cup where he was as much as 10 lengths off the pace.
Blacker says the run wasn’t as bad as it looked.
“I think the horse was ridden a little too aggressively at the start,” he said.
“When it all settled down mid race he was in the right position…just had done too much work.
“All things considered it wasn’t too bad a run really.”
The one bonus he does have is it’s a big drop in grade from Group 1 level back to hear, however there are still some strong adversaries.
Blacker has picked out At First Sight as the one to beat but thinks he could have his edge.
Dream Pedlar ran sixth in the Naturalism Stakes when At First Sight ran second however At First Sight hasn’t had a start since.
“He probably only beat me by 2.5lengths at the most,” Blacker said.
“My horse has improved a lot since then and At First Sight has been scratched a few times.”
He couldn’t have the services of a better jockey at the moment either with Craig Williams to pick up the ride.
“He’s riding in tremendous form and it’s good to have him on board again,” he said.
“He rode him in Bendigo Cup last year.”
Dream Pedlar has barrier 11 in the 2011 Bendigo Cup and will be ridden forward to pick up a spot somewhere in the first half of the field.