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Dream Ahead Hangs On in Thrilling Sprint Cup
Saturday, September 3, 2011

Dream Ahead edged out Bated Breath and Hoof It in a thrilling three-way photo finish to capture the $368,000 Betfred Sprint Cup (Eng-I) at Haydock Park Sept. 3.

It was the fourth career group I win for the 3-year-old son of Diktat, who captured the Darley July Cup (Eng-I) earlier this season.

The David Simcock trainee, who was named co-champion juvenile colt in England last year, entered the Sprint Cup off of a seventh-place finish in the Prix Maurice de Gheest-Goldikova (Fr-I) in his previous start. Regardless of that subpar effort, Dream Ahead was sent off as the 4-1 favorite to reverse that form against 15 rivals at Haydock.

One of the main challengers to Dream Ahead appeared to be the Roger Charlton-trained Bated Breath, a 4-year-old colt by Dansili who finished second by a half-length to Dream Ahead in the July Cup. The Juddmonte Farm colorbearer was hoping to rebound from a poor effort in the Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes (Eng-I) Aug. 19, in which he finished ninth.

The other prime contender in the race was Hoof It, a hard-knocking 4-year-old gelding who was making his second start in group I company. In his last start, Hoof It was beaten just two lengths when finishing sixth in the Nunthorpe.

It was an even start for all as Masamah and Wootton Bassett went to the front to take a short lead. Several horses disputed the lead as the field fanned wide across the track.

With just over a furlong to go, Dream Ahead shot to the front and edged to a slight lead. He was quickly joined by Bated Breath, with Hoof It in hot pursuit. The three runners dueled throughout the final furlong, with William Buick fighting to keep Dream Ahead in front and on a straight path.

Dream Ahead, who was in between his two challengers, began to lug to his left, hampering Hoof It and Graham Gibbons. The colt then began to drift to his right, carrying out Bated Breath in the process.

The three runners hit the wire together, with Dream Ahead finishing a nose in front of Bated Breath. Hoof It was just a head further back in third. After a lengthy stewards’ inquiry, the order of the finish was upheld, and Dream Ahead was declared the winner.

The final time for the six furlongs was 1:10.36 over the good-to-firm going.

After the race, Buick said, “He is a very hard horse to judge. He was running around and if he had got beat I would have said to him ‘you threw it away’ but he held on. He has got a big head and that helps in a photo-finish.”

A disappointed Gibbons stated, “I definitely suffered interference and it cost me the race.”

Simcock, who trains Dream Ahead for owner Khalifa Dasmal, is keeping his options open for his colt, telling reporters, “We could either go to France for the Prix de la Foret (Fr-I), or run at Ascot on Champions Day.”

Dream Ahead was bred in Kentucky by Darley, and is out of the Cadeaux Genereux mare, Land of Dreams. The bay colt was consigned by Bluewater Sales, agent, to the 2009 Keeneland September yearling sale, where he sold for $11,000 to Federico Barberini, agent.

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