x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Dream Ahead will stick to the sprints for now

Simcock, trainer for the Emirati businessman Khalifa bin Dasmal, has confirmed the colt will not be returning to a mile.

Khalifa bin Dasmal's Dream Ahead, ridden by Hayley Turner, won the July Cup at Newmarket on Saturday.
Khalifa bin Dasmal's Dream Ahead, ridden by Hayley Turner, won the July Cup at Newmarket on Saturday.

The trainer for Khalifa bin Dasmal, the Emirati businessman, has confirmed Dream Ahead will not be returning to a mile and pinpointed the comprehensive defeat to Frankel last month as a seminal moment in the horse's development.

The colt, owned by the Dubai-based magnate, claimed his third Group 1 success by winning the July Cup at Newmarket on Saturday and has now been given a rating of 128 by Timeform, the highest figure returned by a European sprinter since Mozart (131), who won the same race a decade ago.

Doubts were raised about the development of Dream Ahead when, after defeat to Frankel in October in the Dubai Dewhurst Stakes, he missed meetings in both the French and English versions of the Classics and the Abu Dhabi 2000 Guineas at the Curragh in Ireland because of the ground and conditions were not in his favour.

But David Simcock's colt made his seasonal return in the St James's Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot last month and, although he again finished fifth behind Frankel, the trainer was pleased with his workout.

"Ascot was the turning point," Simcock told Dubai Racing Channel yesterday. "It has been tough because we had the driest spring in nearly 100 years when only 3mm of rain fell between February 23 and May 23. He is a horse who likes to train on grass with a bit of cut so it was very, very difficult. But Ascot turned him around physically, mentally and now he is in much better shape."

Dream Ahead then stepped it up by winning the July Cup under Hayley Turner in tremendous style at Newmarket on Saturday. The six-furlong triumph was the colt's third success in Group 1 company following his wins in the Prix Morny at Deauville and the Shadwell Middle Park Stakes at Newmarket last year.

"It was a special day," said Simcock, dismissing any talk Dream Ahead would return to a mile, which dashes any hope of a showdown with Frankel and Canford Cliffs at Glorious Goodwood later this month.

"He will stick to six, six-and-a-half and seven furlongs," Simcock said. "He is in a good frame of mind mentally, so there will be no return to a mile."

Dream Ahead will travel to France for the Prix Maurice de Gheest on August 7 and round off the flat season in England by entering the Sprint Cup at Haydock and the British Champions' Series Sprint final at Ascot.

Since 1990 only five sprinters have been rated higher than Dream Ahead by Timeform: Dayjur (137), Stravinsky (133), Lake Coniston (131), Mozart (131) and Anabaa (130). Dream Ahead is rated the equal of the likes of Kyllachy, Lochsong and Oasis Dream.

"Dream Ahead was Timeform's clear top-rated for the July Cup based on his juvenile form, but the manner of his success suggests he can be the dominant force in top races around six furlongs as it's quite simply the case that one of his calibre is rare in European sprints," Kieran Packman, a Timeform spokesman, said.

"It's worth bearing in mind, though, that the Australian-trained Black Caviar is currently ranked six pounds [2.7kg] superior to Dream Ahead as she's rated 135 by Timeform."

Meanwhile, a return to the Dubai Carnival next year is on the cards for Fanunalter after his fine run at Ascot on Saturday.

Marco Botti's five year old chased home the top-class Dick Turpin in the Summer Mile and was beaten by just three-quarters of a length.

"I think he's a lot like his father, Falbrav, in that he improves every year," Botti said. "He's a much more straightforward horse than he used to be and I think that's because we gelded him last year. He was beaten by a Group 1 horse, so I was delighted with him.

"Perhaps he might go to America or Dubai again. He's a horse that doesn't handle soft ground so we have to campaign him in the summer. So the plan would be to give him a break and then freshen him up for Dubai."

* Compiled with agency