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Meade eyes big autumn targets for Helvic Dream

Noel Meade is considering a range of big-race options for his Group One winner Helvic Dream.

Meade has enjoyed endless success at the top level over jumps in his career, but the four-year-old’s victory in the Tattersalls Gold Cup at the Curragh in May was by far his biggest on the Flat.

The Power gelding has not run since, but is reported in good shape, as Meade waits for suitable ground conditions.

Noel Meade celebrates the victory of Helvic Dream at the Curragh
Noel Meade celebrates the victory of Helvic Dream at the Curragh (PA)

The County Meath trainer said: “We are waiting on soft ground, but he wouldn’t be ready until the middle of September. He’s entered in the Irish Champion Stakes (on Saturday week), but to be honest I don’t really think that’s realistic with the ground and the likely quality of the field.

“However, if the ground did come up soft he could run in it – because the plan is to go for the Prix Dollar at Longchamp on Arc weekend and then, if it came up soft, we might have a crack at the English Champion Stakes. He’s in great form.”

Meade had a welcome return to winning ways at Roscommon on Monday with Too Bright, and added: “We’ve been pulling our hair out for the last five or six weeks, but hopefully they are coming back to themselves now.”

Autumn campaign on the agenda for Helvic Dream

Trainer Noel Meade is eyeing an autumn campaign with his Tattersalls Gold Cup hero Helvic Dream.

While no stranger to big-race success over jumps, the Tu Va handler landed his very first Group One success on the Flat when Helvic Dream got the better of old rival Broome in a thrilling contest at the Curragh last month.

Broome has since filled the runner-up spot in the Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot, while True Self and Cayenne Pepper – third and fourth in the Tattersalls Gold Cup – both performed well in defeat at the Curragh last weekend.

Meade, however, is keeping his powder dry for the backend of the season.

He said: “We gave him a break for three weeks after the Tattersalls Gold Cup and he’s just back in the gym again now.

“The plan is not to run again probably until September. We want soft ground, so we didn’t think there was much point keeping him going all the time when the ground is fast.”

Helvic Dream holds an entry in the Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown on September 11, while Meade also views October’s Qipco Champion Stakes at Ascot as a possible objective.

Noel Meade at the Curragh
Noel Meade at the Curragh (PA)

He added: “He’s in the Irish Champion Stakes, but the ground in Leopardstown probably won’t let that happen.

“There’s a few other races – there’s a race or two in France that might suit – and also the Ascot race might work out because it’s usually run on soft ground.

“We might even try him over a mile, but we’ll see how we get on.”

No hurry for Helvic plans after Dream Curragh success

Noel Meade is in no rush to make concrete plans for Helvic Dream following his thrilling victory in the Tattersalls Gold Cup on Sunday.

Having finished behind the reopposing Broome on each of his three previous outings this season, the four-year-old turned the tables on his favoured soft ground – coming out on top by a short head at the Curragh to provide his trainer with a first Group One success on the Flat.

“There’s not a bother on him this morning – he’s in good form,” Meade said on Monday.

“It was great. He had a few lengths to make up (with Broome) and it’s great when it happens.”

While Aidan O’Brien is considering races like the Coronation Cup at Epsom and the Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot for the runner-up, Helvic Dream does not hold any big-race entries at this stage.

Meade feels cut in the ground is essential for his charge and would not be averse to dropping him back in trip from a mile and a quarter to a mile at some stage.

He added: “I hadn’t really been thinking about Royal Ascot because I thought the ground would be too quick for him. Ascot in October might be worth thinking about, but Ascot in June is definitely not on my mind with him anyway.

“I haven’t really thought about where he’s going to go next, to be honest. We’ll just have to sit down and have a think about where we’re going to head.

“We wouldn’t be against bringing him back a couple of furlongs. Colin (Keane, jockey) has been thinking that for a while.

“The ground is key. We did run him on good-ish ground at the Curragh this year and he didn’t operate on it at all.

“He definitely won’t go further (than a mile and a quarter). We’ll enter him in the Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown and the Champion Stakes at Ascot and we’ll have a look around and see what’s available beforehand.

“In normal times you’d be thinking France would be a place you’d normally get easy ground, but we’ll get our breath first and see.”

Helvic Dream gives Noel Meade first top-level victory on the Flat

Helvic Dream provided trainer Noel Meade with a first Group One winner on the Flat as he came out on top in a thrilling renewal Tattersalls Gold Cup at the Curragh.

While the multiple champion trainer is no stranger to high-profile success over jumps, his Flat runners at Group One level have been far less frequent since Sweet Mint landed what is now the Diamond Jubilee at Royal Ascot in 1978.

Having finished behind the reopposing 10-11 favourite Broome on his three previous outings this season, Helvic Dream was sent off at 8-1 under Colin Keane – and moved ominously into the slipstream of his old rival halfway up the home straight.

To his credit, Broome refused to go down without a fight and the two flashed by the line almost as one, but the judge confirmed Helvic Dream had won the day by a short head.

The Willie Mullins-trained True Self, who was last seen landing a valuable prize in Saudi Arabia in February, ran a fine race in third in the hands of Hollie Doyle.

Meade said: “I shall die happy now – I was roaring!

“Colin said to me he was going to sit a bit closer to him (Broome), sit behind him and have one go on him. He said he went too soon the last day and he actually said he went too soon again today.

“He has an electrifying turn of speed to get there and he lasted out. It was a brilliant ride.

“He’s a lovely horse who has been a pleasure to train. He doesn’t take a lot of work – he doesn’t take a lot of anything.

“There’s been plenty of people trying to buy him, but thanks to the lads that kept faith in me as I felt he could win a Group One.”

Noel Meade was thrilled to claim his first Group One winner
Noel Meade was thrilled to claim his first Group One winner (PA)

Reflecting on his previous efforts behind Broome, the trainer said: “We were very disappointed with his first run and then the second day the ground was too quick and Colin minded him. He said we’d beat them if we get soft ground.

“He improved and ran well the last day and Colin was confident enough today going out. I was afraid to even dream about it, to be honest.

“It’s something you dream about.”

He added: “I’ve had a number of horses placed in Guineas, and a fourth in the Epsom Derby, but that is my first Group One.

“They are so easy to train compared to jumpers. I’m always joking with Flat trainers that they are getting away with murder.

“You don’t have to train Flat horses to stay or to jump and there is not nearly as many injuries.

“I’ve always said that Sheikh Mohammed should have sent Willie 200 horses years ago and got him out of the way!

“I was afraid to even dream about it (winning a Group One). I’m thrilled and it means a lot.”