Conditions key to Century Dream’s Sussex Stakes challenge

Ground conditions will dictate whether Century Dream will return to Group One level for a tilt at the Qatar Sussex Stakes at Goodwood.

Having been narrowly denied a third win in the Diomed Stakes at Epsom on Derby day, Simon and Ed Crisford’s stable stalwart notched his first victory of the campaign and the 10th of his career in the Listed Midsummer Stakes at Windsor on Saturday.

The seven-year-old ran out an impressive winner of the Celebration Mile at Goodwood last summer and could return to the Sussex Downs for a potential clash with the likes of Palace Pier and Poetic Flare on July 28 – but only if conditions are in his favour.

“We were delighted with him at Windsor. He did it nicely and liked the ground,” said Ed Crisford.

“We have no immediate targets with him – we’ll obviously just follow the rain.

“He’s a seven-year-old now, so he’s an old boy, but he always shows a lot of enthusiasm and we’ve just got to pick and choose our targets depending on where the ground is right for him.

“He’s in the Sussex Stakes and if it did go soft or worse, I’m sure he’d be running in it.”

Century Dream is a general 33-1 shot for the Sussex Stakes, with John and Thady Gosden’s multiple Group One winner Palace Pier the marginal favourite at 11-8 over Jim Bolger’s 2000 Guineas and St James’s Palace Stakes hero Poetic Flare at 9-4.

QEII target on Champions Day for Century Dream

Ed Crisford is keeping his fingers crossed for soft ground on Qipco British Champions Day at Ascot to give Century Dream the best possible chance of bouncing back from a slightly underwhelming performance in Ireland on Saturday.

Having run out an impressive winner of the Celebration Mile at Goodwood last month, the six-year-old was the market leader to double his Group Two tally in the Boomerang Stakes at Leopardstown.

However, having cut out much of the running under William Buick, Century Dream weakened into fifth place as fellow British raider Safe Voyage emerged triumphant.

Crisford, who trains Century Dream in partnership with his father, Simon, said: “I think the ground was a bit quick at Leopardstown and they went strong enough up front.

“The ground was probably a bit quick for him, but he’s come back fine and I think we’ll just head to the QEII on hopefully softer ground.”

The following afternoon A’Ali was sent off favourite to grab Group One glory in the Flying Five Stakes at the Curragh, where he landed the Sapphire Stakes in July.

A'Ali failed to fire in the Flying Five
A’Ali failed to fire in the Flying Five (Dan Abraham/PA)

But all plans are on hold for the son of Society Rock after he trailed home last of 14 runners.

“He was disappointing – he looked a bit flat and a bit lethargic,” Crisford said.

“We’ll just see how he is this week before we make any further plans, I think. When they run too bad to be true, we need to put the horse first and see how he comes out of it.”