Victory sees a dream come true for Hayley
David Simcock, whose faith in Dream Ahead was so excitingly 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 Lords' Taverners, his bowling (“slow right arm, erratic”) did little 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.
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, taking the Grade One Man O'War Stakes at Belmont on Cape Blanco on Saturday night.
Though Dream Ahead won by only half a length, the three-year-old was a class apart in the six-furlong dash, and has taken the whole thing 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 powerful son of Diktat, who carries the colours of Dubai businessman Khalifa Dasmal.