Tag Archive for: Dreamloper

Dreamloper gets the nod in Dahlia Stakes thriller

Dreamloper and Kieran Shoemark came out on top after a tight finish in the Betfair Exchange Dahlia Stakes at Newmarket.

Progressive last year, finishing her campaign with a fine third in the Sun Chariot, the Ed Walker-trained mare locked horns with Sir Michael Stoute’s Ville De Grace as the line approached in the Group Two, with Francis-Henri Graffard’s favourite Ebaiyra finishing fast also.

Shoemark’s mount was announced the 4-1 winner by a nose after a photo finish, with Ville De Grace second at 85-40 and Ebaiyra third, with the 15-8 market leader perhaps a shade unlucky having had to momentarily switch for a clear run.

Walker said: “I had such a bad day yesterday and I thought we were definitely beaten.

“I’ve always thought plenty of her, but she’s been quite difficult to train. Molly Stratton, who rides her every day, has done a brilliant job in calming her down, she’s getting more and more relaxed now.

“She’s always been explosive and it doesn’t take much to set her off but Molly understands her now, I Just let Molly look after her as she knows her inside out so full credit to her.

“In the Sun Chariot all she was doing was closing so I was confident she’d stay further, but she’d been so keen in the past. Kieran gets on really well with her.”

On future plans, Walker said: “We have to try to win a Group One now, the Nassau over an easy 10 furlongs at Goodwood is made for her. I’ve put her in the Queen Anne at (Royal) Ascot as a stiff mile will be fine, but the Nassau is her race.”

Dreamloper aiming to continue on upward curve

Dreamloper begins her campaign in the Group Two Betfair Exchange Dahlia Stakes at Newmarket on Sunday.

The Ed Walker-trained five-year-old already has a Group victory to her name after landing the Valiant Stakes at Ascot over a mile in July.

Last year her season ended with an impressive run in the Sun Chariot at Newmarket, where the bay proved herself a match for the undulations of the Rowley Mile when finishing strongly to come home third at 25-1.

Now a step up in trip beckons, with this weekend’s assignment a furlong further than the horse’s most recent performance over a mile.

“We know she handles the track, the extra furlong we don’t think will be a problem,” Walker said.

Dreamloper winning at Redcar
Dreamloper winning at Redcar (Tony Knapton/PA)

“It’s her first run of the year and she’s been training well at home, we’ll see where we are.

“It’s certainly a very nice place to start her off.”

Among the opposition is Sir Michael Stoute’s Ville De Grace, winner of the Listed John Musker Stakes and the Group Three Pride Stakes last season – both run over a mile and two furlongs.

Francis-Henri Graffard will saddle Neom Cup third Ebaiyra, with William Haggas represented by Pride Stakes runner-up Lilac Road.

Andrew Balding’s Auria, Jessica Harrington’s Climate and George Boughey’s Romantic Rival complete the field of seven.

Another fillies’ race on the same card is the Pretty Polly Stakes, a 10-furlong Listed event that acts as an Oaks trial and has attracted a field of seven.

John and Thady Gosden’s Crenelle is an intriguing runner, a Juddmonte-owned grey who already has form at the track having won a one-mile fillies’ maiden in April.

The three-year-old is from the same family as St Leger winner Logician and jockey Frankie Dettori therefore believes she will have the necessary stamina when stepped up a quarter of a mile in trip.

“Crenelle is an exciting filly and we’re looking forward to stepping her up in distance in the Pretty Polly,” he told Sporting Index.

“We think the extra distance will suit, particularly as she’s related to Logician, and hopefully she can take another step forward.”

Also well-fancied is Godolphin’s With The Moonlight, trained by Charlie Appleby to two all-weather victories last season before a third-placed run on good ground in the Listed Montrose Fillies’ Stakes at Newmarket.

“She was last seen finishing third in the Montrose on ground that wouldn’t have suited her,” Appleby said on the Godolphin website.

“Back on a sounder surface this weekend we would be very confident she would put up a good performance.”

Hugo Palmer runs Arion, a filly who ran twice as a two-year-old when finishing second on debut at Newmarket and then winning a Chelmsford novice.

“We’ve been very happy with everything she’s done, Tom Marquand rode her and was very impressed with how she’d changed since she won her maiden,” Palmer said.

“We feel she’ll stay very well and she ran very well at Newmarket so the undulations of the Rowley Mile should pose no problem, but we’ll find out an awful lot more about her.

“This filly only had two starts last season, we really are going to an Oaks trial with her to try, we are trialling her and trying to find out where we are. She’s got the pedigree and she’s got the looks, now she just has to do the hard bit.”

Also engaged is Henry Spiller’s Mashaaer, an ex-Shadwell filly purchased from Richard Hannon’s yard during their dispersal in February.

Seen on track twice so far, the daughter of Muhaarar was the runner-up in a one-mile Ascot maiden and then went on to finish second again on the all-weather at Wolverhampton in April.

“She’s come on a huge amount, we’d only had her eight weeks at Wolverhampton and she was still very backward in her coat but she’s really blossomed now since that race,” Spiller said.

“She was short on work going there but she’s worked very well since and I’m very pleased with her progress and it looks an open race.

“I think she’ll be better on the grass and better with a little more distance, everything in her pedigree suggests a little more distance will help her.

“She’ll love the ground, which is a plus, I think it’s going to be pretty quick up there at the weekend.

“It’s a little bit of a shot in the dark for a filly that hasn’t won a maiden, but she’s got the ability and we think it’s worth taking a chance with her.”

Roger Varian’s Peripatetic represents Cheveley Park Stud, with the Haggas-trained Cet Horizon and George Scott’s Kick On Girl completing the field.

Matron mission for Mother Earth

Aidan O’Brien’s Classic heroine Mother Earth is primed to bid for her third Group One of the year in the Coolmore America “Justify” Matron Stakes.

Mother Earth, who has already put the 1000 Guineas and Prix Rothschild titles in the Ballydoyle cabinet this year, will be joined in a 13-strong field by O’Brien’s Empress Josephine – an Irish Guineas winner in May – and a third stablemate, Friendly.

Strong opposition for them at Leopardstown on Saturday includes Paddy Twomey’s dual Group Three winner Pearls Galore, Ger Lyons’ Acanella and Willie McCreery’s Epona Plays.

Another out to make her seniority count is Ed Walker’s four-year-old Dreamloper, who crosses the Irish Sea from Lambourn after managing only fourth in Newbury’s Hungerford Stakes last time but as an emphatic Group Three winner at Ascot before then.

Last year’s winner Champers Elysees has run well in defeat several times for Johnny Murtagh this summer – while old rivals Shale and Pretty Gorgeous, for brothers Donnacha and Joseph O’Brien respectively, are also very much in the reckoning.

Mother Earth is nonetheless clear favourite to augment her already successful campaign, under Ryan Moore.

O’Brien said: “She is a lovely filly who probably doesn’t want to be in front too long.

“She’s a great traveller and very enthusiastic and usually very consistent.”

As well as her two triumphs this summer, Mother Earth has performed with significant credit in three defeats – at the top level throughout.

Empress Josephine has twice failed to reach the frame in Group One company since her Classic win at the Curragh – including when upped to 10 furlongs last time in the Nassau Stakes at Goodwood.

O’Brien said: “Empress Josephine went a mile and a quarter the last day, and it just didn’t work for her – they didn’t go fast enough for her.

“We’re going back to a mile with her and will ride her a bit patiently this time.”

Dreamloper has established her niche at a mile or seven furlongs – but will not appreciate any easing of the ground from the current good.

“She wants any rain to stay away,” said Walker.

“She’s really got her act together this year and was brilliant in the Valiant (at Ascot).

“The race unfolded the wrong way for her at Newbury, but still she did not disgrace herself.

“Back to a mile, hopefully there will be a good pace and she can switch off – then I think she’ll run a big race. It’s very exciting.”

Walker to raise his sights for Ascot victor Dreamloper

Ed Walker will select from an array of Group One and Two targets for Dreamloper after the talented filly put her career back on track at Ascot.

Walker was hugely disappointed and at a loss to explain Dreamloper’s lacklustre performance when she could manage only 10th of 18 as favourite in Royal Ascot’s Kensington Palace Stakes.

But she was back to winning form with a vengeance on her return to the Berkshire track for last month’s Valiant Stakes – and the Lambourn trainer is therefore encouraged to factor in top-level assignments such as the Matron Stakes at Leopardstown and Newmarket’s Sun Chariot later in the season.

He has even contemplated a possible trans-Atlantic trip to Saratoga this month – although at present, that challenge for this month’s Grade Two Ballston Spa Stakes is on the back-burner.

Walker said: “I left (Royal) Ascot so gutted and disappointed.

“I (then) did the slightly unorthodox thing of running badly in a handicap and sticking her in a Group race (next).

“But she’s a well-bred filly, and we’d always agreed that the plan was always to try to win the Kensington Palace and then go and find black type after Ascot.

“So just because she threw in the first real dud of her career, I still thought it was worth sticking to the plan.”

Dreamloper belatedly proved her trainer right.

He added: “In her run before Royal Ascot, she and (Sir Michael Stoute’s Valiant Stakes runner-up) Lights On were in a head-bobbing finish which we came out the wrong side of – and then she (Lights On) went and won a Listed race by 10 lengths at Pontefract.

“That gave me the confidence that she is a Stakes filly. So it paid off in spades, which is great.

“Everything from here is a bonus – we’ll aim for Group Twos and Group Ones.

“I’ve entered her up, against colts as well. We actually supplemented her for the Matron – so the Matron, Sun Chariot, and I’m toying with taking her to Saratoga for the Ballston Spa (on August 28).

“I think we’re probably not going to do that, but we’re weighing up our options really. I think the only reason we wouldn’t go to the Ballston Spa is it might just hinder some of her opportunities here, in Ireland and France.

“So we will probably keep her over here for now, and see.”

Dreamloper’s near five-length Group Three win at Ascot came over a mile, but Walker believes she may be equally adept at that distance or a furlong shorter.

He said: “She’s a very good filly. She’s been quite hard to train – she’s always been a bit over-enthusiastic.

Great Ambassador may be set for a rise in class after his fine Stewards' Cup run
Great Ambassador may be set for a rise in class after his fine Stewards’ Cup run (John Walton/PA)

“The girl who rides her every day, Molly Stratton, has done a magnificent job just switching her off – and it’s all come good.

“Where we go from here, I’m not entirely sure (yet). But we’ll hunt black type, with obviously the eye on the big prize of going for some Group One form.

“She’s got bags of speed. They didn’t go fast at Ascot, in the Valiant, and started quickening it up from four out.

“She hit the line really well and won well, but I don’t think it was a massive stamina test. I think it probably really suited her good turn of foot, so I would happily come back to seven.”

He was also enthused by Great Ambassador’s efforts as a close third in Saturday’s Stewards’ Cup at Goodwood – and he too may soon be set for a rise in class.

“I was thrilled and gutted at the same time with Goodwood,” said Walker, who believes Great Ambassador could easily have bagged the famous handicap prize with better fortune.

He added: “If he’s drawn the other side he probably would have won, and he probably would have won if he hadn’t lugged across the track looking for some company.

“It’s gutting, because I think we’ve been second, third and fourth in the race now in recent years. It’s a lovely race to win, and I’ll keep trying.”

The next stop for improving four-year-old Great Ambassador, meanwhile, may or may not be in handicap company – and could involve a further drop in trip.

“Maybe a Portland (at Doncaster next month), five and a half (furlongs),” said Walker.

“It’s amazing how much speed this horse has – (jockey) Will (Buick) said you could bring him back to five.

“I think he’ll end up being a Pattern book horse before the end of the year.

“We’ll see whether we keep trying to win these sprint handicaps, that are nearly impossible to win, or we go up (in class).

“We’ve had a couple of goes (in big handicaps) now. He’s a very good horse.”

Dreamloper bounces back for Valiant success

Dreamloper bounced back from Royal Ascot disappointment with an emphatic victory in the British Racecourses Join Sunflower Lanyard Scheme Valiant Stakes.

A winner at the Berkshire circuit last season, Ed Walker’s filly was sent off favourite to double her Ascot tally at last month’s showpiece meeting in the Kensington Palace Stakes, but could only finish in midfield.

Stepping up to Group Three level for the first time on her return to the same course, the four-year-old looked to have plenty on her plate, with the returning Fillies’ Mile runner-up Indigo Girl and the prolific Lights On among her rivals.

But ridden confidently by champion jockey Oisin Murphy, 13-2 chance Dreamloper moved smoothly onto the heels of the leaders passing the two-furlong marker before quickening up in brilliant style to leave the chasing pack trailing in her wake.

Lights On narrowly beat the slow-starting Waliyak to the runner-up spot, some four and a half lengths behind the impressive winner, with 11-8 favourite Indigo Girl only fourth on her belated seasonal reappearance.

Walker said: “We were so confident going into Royal Ascot – and we still have no idea what happened there, I’ve never found a reason. She just ran flat at a time the horses were running great. There were no excuses.

“Today she showed how good she could be. Oisin was very good on her as well.

“I must give a massive shout to Molly Stratton, who rides her every day. She’s not the easiest filly, and Molly has done a great job with her.”

Considering future targets, the trainer added: “We’ve no plan in mind, but she’s won a Group Three there – so it will be Group Twos and Group Ones now.

“The Sun Chariot could be a shout – but she’d have to take on (stablemate) Primo Bacio!”

Murphy was impressed with the filly’s performance, saying: “She was much more relaxed today, and Ed was thrilled with how she’d been going at home.

“It was a huge step up on what she’s achieved so far, but it was very satisfying to see her go and do that, with her owner here as well.

“Why not step up higher? I’m not sure what races are in mind, but you’d hope she could step up a level.”