Tag Archive for: Stuart Williams

Williams waiting on Classic call for Desert Dreamer

Desert Dreamer could head straight to the Qipco 1000 Guineas without a prep run, trainer Stuart Williams has revealed.

The daughter of Oasis Dream was placed four times in Group company last season, including when beaten a length in the Criterium de Maisons-Laffitte at Chantilly.

She signed off a busy campaign, which included two wins, with the final of four runner-up efforts, chasing home Symphony Perfect in the Listed Bosra Sham Fillies’ Stakes at Newmarket in October.

The filly had previously given Williams his first ever juvenile winner on the Rowley Mile in a five-furlong fillies’ maiden in April and followed that with success in a six-furlong novice event.

Desert Dreamer, who carries the colours of the trainer’s late stepfather David Shekells, which are registered in the name of his mother Carol and John Parry, could start off in the fillies’ mile Classic on May 1, for which she is a 33-1 shot with Paddy Power.

Williams said: “I haven’t 100 per cent decided where she will start yet. She is in work with us now and has had a short break and she is cantering steadily.

“But if I am happy with her, it is possible we might roll the dice and go to the Guineas, but we will make that decision a bit later on when we have to.

“I think, if we go that route, we probably won’t have a prep run. She is in very good form and I’m very happy with her.

“If we went down the Guineas route, we will see what happens after that, but if we decided at some stage it wasn’t the plan, I think we’d aim for the Commonwealth Cup at Ascot, or something like that.”

Williams, who got off the mark for the season with a double at Chelmsford on Saturday, courtesy of Shanko landing a five-furlong novice and Existent taking a handicap over the same trip, is looking to kick on after several near misses.

Stuart Williams was happy to get the ball rolling with a double at Chelmsford
Stuart Williams was happy to get the ball rolling with a double at Chelmsford (Simon Cooper/PA)

“We had eight seconds since the turn of the year, so it was good to see a couple get their noses in front,” added the master of Newmarket’s Diomed Stables.

“The handicapper has have given Shanko a mark of 82. We will go down the handicap route with him and we won’t be rushing him back to the track. I’m sure he will go on the turf later on in the season.”

Thanks to the exploits of stable start Desert Dreamer, the yard is brimming with young horses this term.

Williams said: “We have a nice team. This time last year, we had literally three two-year-olds, whereas this year, we are going to have well into the teens, probably the late teens.

“It is quite exciting to have a team of young horses. You don’t know what they are going to become.

“Obviously we liked them at the sales and one or two people have sent me a couple of horses, hopefully on the back of what Desert Dreamer did last year. It is probably the most two-year-olds I’ve ever had to start a season with.

“When you are a stable our size, people know we can win the bread-and-butter everyday races and have a decent handicapper now and then, but it is nice to have a Group horse in the yard and we have been lucky enough in the past three years to have had a couple.”

Cheveley Park aim for Desert Dreamer

Stuart Williams remains keen on a crack at the Juddmonte Cheveley Park Stakes with Desert Dreamer after his star filly ran yet another fine race in defeat at York.

A dual winner at Newmarket in the spring, the daughter of Oasis Dream has since finished second in the Listed Empress Stakes, the Group Two Duke of Cambridge Stakes and the Group Three Princess Margaret – beaten just a nose by Zain Claudette on the latter occasion.

Desert Dreamer again had to make do with minor honours in York’s Group Two Lowther Stakes, this time finishing third behind the reopposing Zain Claudette and the previously-unbeaten Sandrine.

Champion jockey Oisin Murphy did well to stay on board after Desert Dreamer’s saddle slipped deep inside the final furlong, but Williams does not believe it made any difference to the final result.

“Obviously the little incident towards the end of the race didn’t help, but I think third was the best we were going to achieve anyway,” said the Newmarket handler.

“She’s come out of the race good and the plan would be to go to the Cheveley Park.

“She likes Newmarket and I think a bit easier ground might suit her as well. It was quite quick at York.

“If it was proper good ground or just on the soft side for the Cheveley Park, it might give us a little chance of turning the tables.”

Desert Dreamer seeks change of fortune in Lowther

Desert Dreamer is seeking to finally enjoy her day in the sun in the Sky Bet Lowther Stakes.

The Stuart Williams-trained filly has had little luck since winning her first two starts at Newmarket, finishing in midfield after being drawn on the wrong side in the the Queen Mary at Royal Ascot before filling the runner-up spot on three successive occasions.

The daughter of Oasis Dream was beaten a neck in the Listed Empress Stakes, found only the unbeaten Sandrine too strong in the Duchess of Cambridge back at Newmarket and was touched off by just a nose when second to Zain Claudette in her latest bid for Group-race honours in Ascot’s Princess Margaret.

Sandrine and Zain Claudette are once again in opposition to Oisin Murphy’s mount at York, but Williams is expecting a bold showing in Thursday’s six-furlong Group Two.

Stuart Williams trains Desert Dreamer
Stuart Williams trains Desert Dreamer (Simon Cooper/PA)

He said: “We’ve been very happy with her since Ascot – she’s trained very well.

“We feel she’s been a bit unfortunate. In her last three runs, the winner has been on the other side of the course to her, and I’d quite like to get into a fight with them really! It’s nicer when they’re challenging.

“She tries hard and is very professional about her racing now.

“We’re very much looking forward to running her on Thursday.”

Zain Claudette’s trainer Ismail Mohammed is confident his filly has not yet reached the ceiling of her ability.

“She has worked well, and we are confident she has improved from her last race,” said the Newmarket handler.

“She is doing really well and is stronger now than she was at Ascot.

“This is not an easy race, but we have a good chance.”

The Andrew Balding-trained Sandrine will be a hot favourite to make it four from four, having proved her class and courage in winning the Albany Stakes at the Royal meeting on heavy ground and the Duchess of Cambridge on good to firm.

Sandrine and David Probert winning at Royal Ascot
Sandrine and David Probert winning at Royal Ascot (David Davies/PA)

David Probert, who has steered Kirsten Rausing’s filly to success on each of her three starts to date, felt from an early stage that she could be above average.

“I sat on her early on in the year, and she had a great temperament,” he said.

“She didn’t show any sign of greenness, and you can always tell if they’ve got a classy attitude and a high performance. She just felt she had such a great rhythm, so I knew she was going to be pretty classy, but never knew how she was going to perform on the stage.

“I was worried about the heavy ground at Ascot and I was amazed by how she quickened and hit the line in the Albany.

“When I let her extend at Newmarket, she handled the ground a lot better and gave me an amazing feel.”

Hello You was placed behind Sandrine at both Ascot and Newmarket and has her first start for trainer Dave Loughnane after moving from Ralph Beckett’s yard.

Loughnane said: “She’s settled in nicely and she’s a lovely filly.

“She’s done absolutely nothing wrong on the track so far. It’s obviously a tall order to try to reverse the form with Sandrine.

“But she’s carrying a 3lb penalty this time, and we’ll have a crack at it – you never know what can happen.

“Hello You is a saint at home, but Rossa (Ryan) said she was a bit keen the last day in Newmarket, so we’ve decided to put a hood on her on Thursday. I just thought, with the atmosphere and everything, it might drown out a bit of the noise and help her a little bit.”

Desert Dreamer has Lowther in sights

Desert Dreamer has the Lowther Stakes on her agenda as she seeks to end her sequence of Pattern class runner-up spots.

Stuart Williams’ filly was beaten just a neck in the Listed Empress Fillies’ Stakes in June, and then returned to Newmarket to fill the same position behind Sandrine in the Group Two Duchess of Cambridge Stakes.

The Group Three Princess Margaret Stakes was her next and most recent engagement, at Ascot last month, and again Desert Dreamer was beaten only a neck by Ismail Mohammed’s Zain Claudette.

The two fillies are due to cross paths once more at York in the Group Two Lowther, over the same six-furlong trip.

Desert Dreamer’s Newmarket trainer Williams said: “She’s fine, she’s come out of the race in really good form – and the plan is to go straight to the Lowther now.

“She tries very hard and she’s so professional – she’s sure to run a good race.

“She’s not ground dependent. The ground won’t worry her, whatever the going conditions may be.”

Desert Dreamer was caught only in the final stride of the Princess Margaret as Zain Claudette struck from the far side of the track, and Williams is relishing the prospect of a rematch.

“I’d be very keen to take on the one that beat us last time again,” he said.

“She was on the other side of the track, and she didn’t get chance to respond.

“I think if she was right next to her we might have ended up getting the result we wanted – it was only a bob of the head.”

Desert Dreamer aiming to deliver in Ascot assignment

Stuart Williams’ Desert Dreamer will bid to return to winning ways in the Group Three Princess Margaret Keeneland Stakes at Ascot.

The two-year-old began her career with successive victories at Newmarket before making the step up to Group Two level in the Queen Mary Stakes at Royal Ascot, where she finished 10th of 21 runners.

Two trips to the July course at Newmarket then followed, where she finished just a neck behind System in the Listed Empress Fillies’ Stakes and was then the runner-up again when losing out to Sandrine in the Group Two Duchess Of Cambridge Stakes.

“We were very happy with her run in the Duchess Of Cambridge,” said Newmarket trainer Williams.

“She seems to have come out of the race really well, so we’re looking forward to running her on Saturday.

“She’s very tough and she takes her racing really well.

“I don’t think she’s ground dependent really. She obviously goes on fast ground, but she won on good ground earlier in the year so I wouldn’t mind it if it were good or even good to soft – it wouldn’t bother her at all.”

Karl Burke’s Attagirl also lines up after a convincing four-length victory in a Haydock maiden this month.

Her trainer expects further improvement.

“I think a lot of her,” said Burke.

“She’s a lovely filly, and I’m looking forward to seeing her run – she seems in great shape.

“She was impressive (at Haydock), and we think she can improve on that, so we’re very much looking forward to it.”

El Hadeeyah represents James Tate’s yard and will again cross paths with Desert Dreamer, who beat her into third when the two made their racecourse debuts in a Newmarket maiden in April.

She suffered two more defeats in May, but claimed her first victory on the all-weather track at Lingfield.

“She’s a filly we’ve always liked,” said Tate.

“She showed a lot of promise on her first run at Newmarket when she was third behind Desert Dreamer.

“Then she got lost a little bit on her next two starts, when the ground was softer than ideal, but she was back to form on the fast Polytrack at Lingfield last time.

“We thought we’d go black-type hunting in this race – six furlongs will suit her well if they don’t get too much rain.

“Fast ground should suit, and we’re hopeful for a good run.”

Richard Hannon’s System is well fancied, having beaten Desert Dreamer in the Empress Stakes, with Archie Watson’s Nazanin bringing a victory on her sole start at Newbury to the table.

Tom Dascombe’s Delmona is also engaged after her third place in the Super Sprint at Newbury last week.

Clive Cox’s Crazyland, Ismail Mohammed’s Zain Claudette, Rebecca Menzies’ winning Doncaster debutante Miss Calculation and George Boughey’s Sassy Rascal complete the field of 11.

Marco Ghiani keeps his name in lights at Lingfield

Red-hot apprentice Marco Ghiani continued his sensational run of form with a double at Lingfield on Tuesday.

Since booting home two winners at Southwell on New Year’s Day, the Italian-born jockey had added further successes at Wolverhampton and Lingfield to take his recent record to five winners from his last seven rides ahead of his return to the Surrey circuit.

The 5lb claimer kept the run going with victory aboard the Amy Murphy-trained Jennivere in the Get Your Ladbrokes Daily Odds Boost Handicap, with the 100-30 chance clinging on by a short head from Nozieres.

Murphy said: “She’s a tough little filly and she deserved that as she probably should have won the last day – she just ran out of time.

“She’s a home-bred, so it’s great to get a second win on the board for her.

“Marco is riding out of his skin and is definitely a jockey to follow.”

An hour later, Ghiani successfully combined with boss Stuart Williams as Passional completed her hat-trick in fine style in the Heed Your Hunch At Betway Handicap.

Bought for just 5,500 guineas out of Simon and Ed Crisford’s yard in October, the daughter of Footstepsinthesand was placed on her first two starts for Williams, before bolting up at Southwell last month.

Having followed up at Wolverhampton on Saturday, Passional was the 8-15 favourite under a 5lb penalty and quickened up smartly to score by a length and a half.

Williams, saddling a fifth winner from his last five runners, said: “I think she was a bit unlucky in a few of her races for Simon and our family actually bred her, so we always kept an eye on her progress.

“When she went to the sales we said we’d try to buy her back and see if we could win a couple of races with her. It’s worked out well.”

Passional (centre) charges home at Lingfield
Passional (centre) charges home at Lingfield (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

On Ghiani, the Newmarket handler added: “He’s doing really well. He had a really good year two years ago and I didn’t want him to ride his claim out through the winter, so I sent him over to Brendan Walsh in America, just to ride trackwork for three or four months.

“He came back just before the start of the season here last year and obviously we went straight into lockdown. He ended up not riding for about seven months and lost all the contacts that he’d built up the year before, so in hindsight, it was the wrong thing to do.

“It’s just taken him a while to build his contacts back up again. My horses weren’t in spectacular form after the lockdown either, so little things like that conspired against him.

“Now we’re in better form, Marco has been around for a bit longer and is getting more rides off other people and it’s all come together.”

Elsewhere on the card, the Roger Varian-trained La Tihaty (10-11 favourite) went one better than when runner-up on his course and distance debut with an emphatic victory in the Ladbrokes Watch Racing Online For Free Novice Stakes.