David Simcock, whose faith in Dream Ahead was justified on Saturday, reported the July Cup winner to be in top fettle yesterday morning before turning his own attention to the other sporting occasion in his weekend diary. He was the first to admit that, as a cricketer, he falls well short of Group One standard and sure enough, as he turned out for a Newmarket XI in a charity match against the Lord's Taverners, his bowling ("slow right arm, erratic") did no damage.
As a trainer, though, it is a different matter and his Trillium Place team's handling of Dream Ahead has ensured that the sprinting division now has the star it needed. Though he won by only half a length, the three-year-old was a class apart in the six-furlong dash, and has taken it in his imperious stride. "He has tightened up a bit, but I think he's the sort who puts a lot into his races, even when he wins easily," said Simcock. "But he grubbed up after the race and trotted up straight and sound this morning. Everything is just fine."
After two top-level successes last year, Dream Ahead was rated equal best of his age in Europe. His return to the big time has been a matter of huge satisfaction to Simcock, and a reward for patience shown during the unusually dry spring and early summer that kept the colt, who needs ease in the ground to show his best, in his box.
The frustration was magnified as the other joint-champion, Frankel, progressed ever upwards over a mile. But it has, in the end, all panned out perfectly. Dream Ahead's physique and pedigree both smacked of high-class sprinting talent and one shot at Frankel over a mile last month, which proved as much, set him up perfectly for his own glory on Saturday.
"Relief was the main emotion on Saturday," added Simcock yesterday. "I've been defensive of him, when people have questioned the rating he got last year, and when he kept not running. But we've been careful with him, and not changed from what we knew was right for him. And now this win has only enhanced his reputation and I would like to think there is more to come."
That view is likely to be tested in next month's Prix Maurice de Gheest at Deauville. After that, the Haydock Sprint Cup in September and a tilt at the inaugural Quipco Sprint championship at Ascot in October are pencilled in for the son of Diktat, owned by Dubai businessman Khalifa Dasmal.
Dream Ahead's rider, Hayley Turner, was only Simcock's third-choice jockey but grabbed the opportunity to record her first success at the top level. It also made her the first female to win a Group One contest in Britain outright (Alex Greaves dead-heated for the Nunthorpe Stakes 14 years ago), an entirely appropriate milestone for one whose ability has made her gender irrelevant.
"I've got more publicity because I'm a girl," she said yesterday, "And if that encourages more girls in, fine. But in the saddle I'm just a jockey and, obviously, I'm thrilled to win a Group One. But I just go with the flow – if you set too many targets you end up disappointed – and I was lucky enough to pick up this ride."
Dream Ahead's regular rider William Buick had been diverted on Saturday by his retaining stable to York, where he notched a minor winner. Simcock's second choice, Jamie Spencer, was on duty for Aidan O'Brien in New York, where he fared rather better, taking the Man O'War Stakes at Belmont on Cape Blanco on Saturday night.
The four-year-old's two-length defeat of Gio Ponti, sent off the 11-10 favourite, in the 11-furlong Grade One gave O'Brien his first US success since Man Of Iron won the 2009 Breeders' Cup Marathon.
* Chris McGrath's Nap
Rainbow Chorus (7.40 Windsor)
Well-related son of Royal Applause from an in-form yard which is more than capable of readying a youngster for a debut win.
* Next best
The Mellor Fella (4.30 Ayr)
Disappointed last time in a messy race, but is better judged on his previous progressive-looking victory.
* One to watch
Labarinto (Michael Stoute), stopped in his run when a closing third at Newmarket last week, is in the right hands to continue his development as a good-class handicapper.
* Where the money's going
Saturday's York winner Tactician has been cut by Hills to 12-1 for the Ebor Handicap over the same course and distance next month.Reuse content