Watch 📺 Dream Hour blitzes rivals to claim 2024 Stradbroke Handicap slot

A win with a difference in the $300,000 feature, The Gateway, at Eagle Farm with the Kris Lees-trained Dream Hour’s victory in the 1400-metre event earning Australian Bloodstock the newly introduced slot in Queensland’s premier race in June.

Winning the December feature, The Gateway, means that either the winner – Dream Hour – has earned a ballot exempt spot in the $3 million Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m), or Australian Bloodstock can select another horse under their ownership, or negotiate with another nominated runner to start in the race as long as it is in the top 40-ranked of those entered.

Dream Hour ($17), ridden by Andrew Mallyon, swooped late and drew away to score by 2½-lengths over Midnight In Tokyo ($4.80) and Warby ($26) a ½-length away in third.

Mallyon said that clear air was all that he needed and got just that when plotting a path down the centre of the course.

The application of blinkers sharpened the four-year-old gelding, but it is the slot towards the Stradbroke that is the key more than the win itself.

“He was quite impressive today,” Lees said.

“It gives us something to look forward to next year.”

Mallyon agreed adding that this fourth career win in 15 starts can be a platform for more to come.

“He’s a really nice horse,” Mallyon said.

“I wanted to wait a bit longer but I was going that well before the turn and he got stronger and stronger up the straight.”

Lees’ win in The Gateway followed his win at Randwick with Loch Eagle’s win in Group 2 The Ingham (1600m) worth $2 million.

Lees won the Summer Provincial Series Final (1300m) earlier on the Eagle Farm card with Willinga Freefall.

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