x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Tough ask for Dream Ahead

Goldikova poses a real threat as the Longchamp race on Sunday will be a close call in warm conditions.

Dream Ahead's clash with Goldikova was brought into focus yesterday when both horses stood their ground for the Prix de la Foret at Longchamp on Sunday.

Both horses remained in the entries at the second forfeit stage for the Group 1 contest and could be joined by eight others, including Dever Dream, owned by Sheikh Fahad Al Thani's Pearl Bloodstock.

Goldikova, trained by Freddie Head, will be chasing her 15th Group 1 success in Paris before a historic fourth attempt at the Breeders' Cup Mile at Churchill Downs in November. The six-year-old mare will enjoy a 3lbs pull with Dream Ahead on account of her sex allowance, while the weights are headed by Marchand d'Or, who bounced back to form with a victory in the Group 3 Prix de Meautry last month.

Dream Ahead missed the English 1000 Guineas and Prix Jean Prat due to unsuitably firm ground, but won the Haydock Sprint Cup this month on going described as good to firm.

With temperatures reaching 28°C in Paris on Wednesday the ground is going against Khalifa bin Dasmal's charge.

Goldikova's half-sister, Galikova, is another who would like the going softer ahead of her bid to become just the third three-year-old filly to win the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe in the past 30 years.

The weather already has scuppered the chances of Nathaniel lining up in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe as John Gosden, the trainer, said yesterday that he would pull out his colt in favour of stablemate Masked Marvel, who could be supplemented on Thursday at a cost of £100,000.

Connections of Nathaniel stumped up £75,000 ahead of his victory in the King George and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot in July but with an entry in the British Champions Stakes back at the Royal track next month Nathaniel will duck the trip to France.

Following the latest forfeit stage for the richest race to be held in Britain, Nathaniel could face dual Dubai World Cup runner Twice Over as well as Wigmore Hall, the recent Woodbine Group 1 winner.

Others to remain in the £1.3million race are Midday, who pushed Twice Over close in the Juddmonte International at York, as well as Cape Blanco, owned by Fitri Hay and trained by Aidan O’Brien.

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