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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.”

Broome seeking Tattersalls Gold at the Curragh

Broome, Serpentine and Tiger Moth give Aidan O’Brien a particularly strong hand in this year’s Tattersalls Gold Cup at the Curragh.

While the very testing ground has prevented O’Brien from running last season’s star three-year-old Love on Sunday, the strength in depth at Ballydoyle still means he can field a Derby winner as well as a Melbourne Cup runner-up.

However, it is Broome who is set to go off favourite – having won three times already this season, including in the Mooresbridge Stakes last time out.

Beaten only half a length by stablemate Anthony Van Dyck in the 2019 Derby, he ran just twice last season, tackling two miles at Ascot on Champions Day on his second start.

Back at 10 furlongs this season, he has looked a different proposition.

“Broome lost his way last year,” said O’Brien.

“We started him at a lower level this year. He has had three trials in Ireland, and I have been very happy with him in all of them.

“He ran a very good race in the Derby. We always thought a mile and a half would suit him this year, and he has only been a mile and quarter yet, but I am very happy with him.

“He won on soft ground earlier in the spring there, and he seems to be in good form.”

O’Brien’s Serpentine caused a huge shock in the Derby last term, building up a huge advantage going around Tattenham Corner which he held on to all the way to the line.

He was beaten in two subsequent starts, in the Grand Prix de Paris and the Champion Stakes.

Stablemate Tiger Moth was beaten a head in the Irish Derby and most recently found only Twilight Payment too good in the Melbourne Cup.

“The other two are just ready to start back,” added O’Brien.

“Serpentine is working very well. Ten furlongs is probably not ideal for either of them really, but they have to start somewhere.”

Stiff opposition comes in the form of the mares True Self, who is reunited with Hollie Doyle, and Search For A Song – along with Jessica Harrington’s four-year-old filly Cayenne Pepper.

Love headlines Tattersalls Gold Cup possibles

Love is the potential star attraction at the Curragh on Sunday with the dual Classic heroine set to make her seasonal reappearance in the Tattersalls Gold Cup.

Aidan O’Brien’s filly enjoyed a flawless 2020 – producing brilliant performances to win both the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket and the Oaks at Epsom, before dominating her rivals once more in the Yorkshire Oaks.

The daughter of Galileo looked poised for a mouthwatering clash with Enable in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in October, but was ruled out of Europe’s premier middle-distance contest on account of the prevailing testing conditions.

With connections ultimately deciding against a trip to America for the Breeders’ Cup, Love is poised for her first competitive outing since August in this weekend’s Group One contest, a race her trainer has already won on a record nine occasions.

The daughter of Galileo is one of seven Ballydoyle contenders for this year’s renewal along with Armory, Broome, Japan, Mogul, Serpentine and Tiger Moth.

Armory and Japan both recently registered victories at Chester, while Broome is enjoying a profitable season already having won each of his three starts in 2021.

Last year’s Derby hero Serpentine, meanwhile, could make his first appearance since finishing fourth in October’s Champion Stakes at Ascot.

Dermot Weld’s dual Irish St Leger winner Search For A Song also features, as does the Willie Mullins-trained True Self, who was last seen landing a lucrative prize in Saudi Arabia in February.

Joseph O’Brien’s has a pair of entries in Pondus and Thunder Nights, with Fiscal Rules (Jim Bolger), Helvic Dream (Noel Meade), Sunchart (Andrew Slattery) and Cayenne Pepper (Jessica Harrington) completing the 15 confirmations.

Fev Rover (centre) is a leading contender for the Irish 1,000 Guineas
Fev Rover (centre) is a leading contender for the Irish 1,000 Guineas (George Selwyn/PA)

Classic honours are up for grabs in the Tattersalls Irish 1,000 Guineas.

Richard Fahey’s Fev Rover sets the standard after finishing third in the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket three weeks ago, while Ken Condon’s Miss Amulet and the Joseph O’Brien-trained Pretty Gorgeous could both make belated returns.

Miss Amulet missed Sunday’s French Guineas due to unsuitable ground, while Pretty Gorgeous was a late withdrawal from the Guineas at Newmarket following an unsatisfactory scope.

A four-strong team for Aidan O’Brien is headed by Irish 1,000 Guineas Trial winner Joan Of Arc. She is joined by stable companions Empress Josephine, Friendly and More Beautiful.

Other hopefuls include Donnacha O’Brien’s Shale and No Speak Alexander from Jessica Harrington’s yard.

Tattersalls Gold Cup target for Love

Love is likely to make her seasonal reappearance in this month’s Tattersalls Gold Cup at the Curragh.

Aidan O’Brien’s filly was the outstanding performer of last year’s Classic generation – winning the 1,000 Guineas, the Oaks and the Yorkshire Oaks.

She was being prepared for the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in the autumn, but heavy rain in Paris put paid to those plans.

Love on her to victory in the Oaks at Epsom
Love on her way to victory in the Oaks at Epsom (Megan Ridgwell/PA)

The Ballydoyle handler initially nominated the Mooresbridge Stakes as a possible comeback date – but that race has been and gone, so Love could now start off in the 10-and-a-half-furlong Group One on May 23.

“We’re looking at the Tattersalls Gold Cup with Love,” said O’Brien.

“It’s not been totally confirmed yet. But that’s what we are looking at, and we’ll make a final decision closer to the time.”