Few trainers have an improving profile like David Simcock. Season on season he continues to better his winning totals and the calibre of stock that he handles.
Last year was a highpoint in that he handled one of the best juveniles of the campaign in Dream Ahead who won the Prix Morny and Middle Park.
Despite a fractured first third of this season he managed to get the horse back from a mile to winning the July Cup over six at Newmarket before a defeat in the Prix Maurice De Gheest that still has connections nonplussed.
The future strategy of that horse is discussed here together with a view on an expanding and unusually precocious group of juveniles.
It is worth remembering that the first time Dream Ahead was mentioned in public it was on this website prior to his impressive Nottingham debut.
It might be wise to remember the unraced youngsters that the trainer talks about this year.
4 b f Exceed And Excel - Cin Isa Luv.
Specialist five furlong performer, one win in 16 starts came on second two-year-old start. Was rated 102 in the middle of last season but had dropped to 92 for latest start when half length second to Star Rover in Ffos Las handicap August 2. Now 93.
"Big, attractive filly that showed nothing at the beginning of this season and we don't know why. Had a mini break and came back to run well at Ffos Las over five and I'm going to try her over six at Goodwood on August 27. We've always wanted to run her on the all weather but there are very few opportunities. It will be disappointing if we don't find something for her."
6 b g Fath - Kilbride Lass.
Grand campaigner from six to seven furlongs and winner of 10 from 72 starts. Latest win came off 102 in seven furlong conditions race at Warwick in April but down to 93 latest start when eleventh of 19 to Pepper Lane at Ripon and now 91, lowest mark since September 2010.
"Very tough and consistent and when we got him last season he rose from 82 to 104. Hasn't has much luck in his last two races in the Great St Wilfred and the Stewards Cup. As soon as he gets genuine soft ground and a straight, level six furlongs he'll be fine - handicapped to be winning."
5 b m Diktat - City Maiden.
Useful filly from seven to nine furlongs and has probably punched above her weight being placed at group one and two level this season, latest when six lengths fourth of eight to Goldikova July 31 at Deauville. Best effort when 40-1 and under two lengths third to Timepiece in mile group one at Newmarket July 8. Now career high 110.
"Is something of an over achiever and is something of a chaser in that she wouldn't put her head in front very often. Having said that you couldn't ask any more of her given the class that she's raced in. She'll either go to Ireland or Turkey at the beginning of September."
I'M A DREAMER
4 b f Noverre - Summer Dreams.
Useful filly that hasn't built on impressive four and a half length defeat of Sea Of Heartbreak in nine furlong group three at Newmarket on reappearance in May. Well held in group one and group three at Ascot at Newmarket won respectively by Lolly For Dolly and Timepiece.
"Always thought a lot of this filly and it was a great performance to win the Dahlia Stakes four lengths at the beginning of the season when it did fall right for her, nine furlongs on good ground off a fast pace. A change of tactics at Ascot didn't work and next time in the Falmouth she was out the back in a slow run race which was my fault. She's been given a little break and has come back really fresh and well. Plenty of options coming up but might go to Ireland on September 8 for a group two and step up to ten furlongs."
6 b h Proud Citizen - Serene Nobility.
Only four wins from 40 starts but decent winner of 16-runner six furlong handicap at Ascot July 9 beating Lutine Bell three quarters of a length. Up 3lb to 90 and possibly better effort in defeat when three quarters of a length third of 23 to Bronze Prince same track over seven furlongs July 23. Now 93
"Bit of a snob, loves Ascot, and it's a shame that the draw can play such a big part. He was a bit isolated last time and gave the winner something to aim at. He'll go to Goodwood on August 27 and then head for Ascot on September 3 but he doesn't want slow ground."
4 ch g Efisio - Picolette.
Last of five career wins from 35 starts came off 80 in nine furlong handicap on heavy at Epsom in October. Went to 90 and has progressed through to 95 this season when in best form of career. Beaten half a length when third to Boom Or Bust off that rating in mile handicap at Goodwood July 29 and career best run latest outing when three quarters of a length third of 18 to Navajo Chief in mile handicap at York August 18 off 97.
"Suffers from his own consistency and should have won this year and has made steady progress. He could be nudging 100 when he's re-assessed and he will be aimed for the Cambridgeshire and after that he could go to Dubai. Very adaptable on ground."
6 b g Silver Deputy - Miss Kitty Cat.
Last of nine career wins came off 93 when beating Jedi a length off 93 in 15 furlong handicap at Doncaster last September. Went to 97 and didn't show much in final two starts of the year but didn't get much luck in running on first run for present yard when making belated reappearance and finishing ninth of 12 to Berling in 13 furlong handicap at Chester August 20.
"I was pleased with him at Chester and he blew very hard after the race. He'd come back from an operation and it was impossible to rush him so he'll have at least three weeks break now. He'd shown up well at home and on his work he has retained his ability. I'd be very surprised if there wasn't a decent mile and a half to mile and six handicap in him."
B c Harlan's Holiday.
Maiden but has ability and fair effort last time when three lengths third of 12 to Royal Peculiar when upped to 12 furlongs from a mile for all weather maiden at Lingfield July 20. Stays on 77.
"Definitely enjoys the synthetic surface and last time it was a case of getting him back on track after disappointing at Nottingham. He should be fine in handicaps and I would be very keen to hold on to him for next season."
B f Shamardal - Mia Mambo.
One run at two and improved with four runs this season winning latest, seven furlong Thirsk maiden by two and three quarter lengths from Map Of Heaven July 30. Stays on 78.
"We'd tried to make her stay over 10 and 11 furlongs and she didn't. The last win boosted her confidence and she's got a good opportunity in a seven furlong fillies handicap at Yarmouth on August 23. Just wouldn't want any extremes of ground. She can only improve from here."
B c Diktat - Land Of Dreams.
Joint top-rated two-year-old of last season winning Prix Morny and Middle Park before finishing well beaten by Frankel in Dewhurst over seven furlongs. Didn't appear to stay on belated reappearance when fifth of nine to same horse in St James's Palace at Royal Ascot. Impressive winner of July Cup when dropped to six at Newmarket next time but ran very flat latest start when never in serious contention and moderate seven lengths seventh of 13 to Moonlight Cloud in the six and a half furlong group one Prix Maurice De Gheest at Deauville August 7. Now has something to prove.
"I've got no excuses or explanation for his defeat last time and I put it down to just a bad day at the office and sprinters can do that sort of thing. I'd probably have been more disappointed if he'd been beaten a length or so because the Deauville run was just too bad to be true. He came out of that race fantastically well and I'd be pretty confident that he'll show his true form in the sprint at Haydock next time on September 3. He looks fantastic. I still think he's better with give in the ground despite it being good to firm when he won the July Cup."
B c Cadeaux Genereux - Tahirah
Second both starts last season and won reappearance when beating Abdicate three and a half lengths in ten runner mile maiden at Hamilton in May. Rated 87 and second and most recent handicap effort the best when length and three quarters fourth of 11 to Capaill Liath in mile handicap at Newmarket July 23. Stays on same mark.
"This is a really interesting horse but he has to have soft ground and he's probably ready to step up to 10 furlongs but he'd be effective at a mile. We really like him and he will progress further. The plan would be to win a decent handicap then look at a bigger one towards the backend."
B c Dr Fong - Noble Peregrine.
Won middle of three starts last season and rated 83 on reappearance and still without a win in five subsequent efforts around a mile. Dropped to 82 after latest run when seven lengths sixth of 16 to Fityaan in seven furlong handicap at Newmarket July 30.
"Did well in a competitive race last time but he will definitely run in a tongue tie next time to help his breathing. Flat track suits him very well over seven, possible a mile. Faster ground suits him at the moment."
B c Iffraaj - Heckle.
Sole win in nine starts came on second run this season when beating Expose three quarters of a length in six furlong Windsor conditions race in June off 74. Went to 79 and off 80 latest run when three quarters of a length second to Mappin Time in six furlong Chester handicap August 20.
"Solid, consistent, handles a turning track well and he is very adaptable concerning ground."
WEAPON OF CHOICE
B c Iffraaj - Tullawadgeen.
Won second start at two and twice a winner from seven starts this season, first off 80 at Newcastle over a mile in July then off 82 latest when beating Shalloon half a length in nine furlong Epsom handicap August 18.
"A horse that benefits when it rains and it came at the right time at Epsom last time. He will take a hike for that but the only time we tried ten furlongs it was on faster ground which he hated so that trip is definitely an option."
B f Royal Applause - Taghreed.
Most encouraging debut when three and a half lengths second of 12 to Besito in six furlong Newmarket maiden August 11.
"Always worked well but quite a character and takes a bit of managing. Penny dropped late on her debut. Haven't done masses of work with her but she has improved considerably. She'll go to Yarmouth on August 28 over six again and step up to seven after that."
B c Zamindar - Sakhya.
Some ability on debut when 11 lengths ninth of 17 to Farhaan in seven furlong Newmarket maiden August 12.
"Likeable horse, ran in a good maiden last time and was slowly away and can only improve. Can win his maiden. Will stay a mile easily and should be a decent handicapper next year. Suggest at home he can win over seven this season."
B f Excellent Art - Going To Work.
Improved on debut third to Crowning Star when winning next two, first over six by a short head from My Sharona at Yarmouth in July then by a head over seven at Lingfield on turf August 13. Up 3lb to 82.
"Pleased last time but did have the run of the race and will be quite happy over a mile. Scrambled home on soft ground and would appreciate it faster."
FIRE AND SPARKS
B f Shamardal - Celtic Triumph.
Improved with each of three runs beating Correct a length and a half in nine runner maiden over six furlongs at Lingfield July 13.
"Unfortunately has met with a setback and will miss the rest of this season but is worth remembering for next year."
Gr c Verglas - Sahara Lady.
Improved on second start when four lengths sixth of 11 to Stipulate in seven furlong Leicester maiden August 7.
"Been very green in the paddock both starts and surprisingly for a Verglas does not want soft ground. He's been very tenderly handled and he will be competitive when he goes to Kempton on August 24 but you won't see the best of him until he gets a mile and a half. Closely related to Darley Sun."
B c Cockney Rebel - Stroke Of Six.
Encouraging second of ten to Dance The Rain over seven at Doncaster in May then easily won three-runner event over same trip at Epsom August 18.
"Should have won first time out at Doncaster when he was very green and he was still immature at Epsom but handled the track well. Will have one more run and open to plenty of improvement."
B c War Chant - Amandas Bandit.
Plenty to like about debut fifth to highly regarded Top Offer in seven furlong Newbury maiden August 12.
"This is a nice horse. He'll be targeted for Dubai in the spring long term but he'll win his maiden then go for a better race then we'll look at Meydan and the big three-year-old race out there. We hold him in high regard. Might step him up to a mile."
B f Zamindar - Affair Of State.
Beat subsequent winner Besito three lengths over six at Ascot second start in July then ran much better effort in defeat when five lengths third of 11 to Best Terms in group two Lowther Stakes at York August 18.
"Shows plenty at home and ran well at Ascot in a race that has worked out well. It's possible that several horses didn't give their running in the Lowther last time on very odd ground. But to be fair to this filly it probably came a race too soon for her. She'll get further and we'll be looking at the Oh So Sharp at Newmarket next time. Tall, raw filly that can only improve."
B c Dansili - Imperial Beauty.
Ability all three starts for Paul Cole - second best when just over two lengths runner up to Trumpet Major over six at Goodwood in May. Debut mark of 83 and yet to race for present yard.
"Difficult horse to assess and rated 83 on three runs over six but he doesn't look a six furlong horse to me and I'm looking at seven or even a mile next time. Very laid back and works like a horse that wants a trip and would run in a maiden next time."
B f Dutch Art - Haretha.
Better run on second start when eight lengths fourth of 10 to Sugarformyhoney over seven at Kempton August 15.
"Lot of size and scope, ran well at Newmarket but got lost around Kempton when she lacked pace at a vital time. Will get a mile and I'll look for a seven furlong race next time and I think you'll see six or seven pounds improvement each time over her next two runs."
B f Dutch Art - Miss Respect.
Sound debut winner over six at Ffos Las August 9 beating Show Flower a length and a half.
"They got into a battle up front when played into her hands last time and had a nice winning introduction. Not a bad filly but we are now struggling with options and will probably go for the Dick Poole at Salisbury. Green early and slowly away on debut so she's only going to improve."
B c Rail Link - For Example.
Showed courage to win debut by a neck from Tidal Way over a mile at Ffos Las August 9.
"Was progressing all the time and needed to run and did it all very nicely on debut although it took a while for him to understand what was needed. He'll have one more run at Haydock on September 3 over a mile. From a good staying family."
MY LUCKY LIZ
B f Exceed And Excel - Areyaam.
Winner of two from seven starts this season and later by far the best performance when staying on well to beat Ladys First in competitive six furlong-eight runner conditions event at Chester August 20. Rating of 75 likely to be shot after this.
"Hard as nails, improved all year and we were going to step her up to seven before her last run and we definitely will now."
ROCK OF MONET
B c Kyllachy - Level Pegging.
Latest of three starts the best when two and a half lengths third of eight to Subtle Embrace at Chepstow August 11 when dropping back to five after two runs at six. Debut mark of 64.
"Limited and not very big and he will win this year although I don't think there's much movement from his mark."
ANY GIVEN DREAM
B c Bahri - Anazara
"Middle distance horses for next season that will run middle to end of September from a good Aga Khan family. Big, raw horse but has shown up really well will start over a mile."
B/br c Cape Cross - Sheer Spirit.
"Came with a reputation but his blood was wrong so we've taken our time. Has a good way or going and very much a horse for next year."
IT'S MY TIME
B f Green Desert - Soviet Term.
"Closely related to Best Terms and was due to run in May but had a setback but is coming back really nicely now, very happy with her.
MOMENT IN TIME
B f Tiger Hill - Horatia.
"Attractive, well-bred filly that will be out in September although the first week might be a bit early over seven or a mile. Like her a lot and I'm very happy to own her myself."
Ch c Dr Fong - Selkirk Sky.
"Lovely big horse that showed up early then had a setback but goes very nicely."
Ch c Shamardal - Oystermouth.
"From the swift family of Avonbridge and Patavellian. Going well early, had to stop and have brought him back. Shows plenty at home and very likeable ."
B f Invincible Spirit - Baize.
"Half sister to amongst others Docofthebay and was very precocious but had one little issue after another. Quick and has plenty of speed. Not far off a run."
FATHSTA: has now moved back to a mark that should bring a big handicap into range.
AJEEB: is one to look out for when the right race turns up on the more suitable all weather surface.
LITTLE ROCKY: is likely to be a different horse when he gets to race on soft ground.
WEAPON OF CHOICE: is another that really needs to get his feet in the mud to bring out his best.
ANDALIEB: has show more than enough at home to win a maiden in his first season.
GLORIAM: is expected to leave his debut run behind.
MOMENT IN TIME and SALOOMY are unraced but showing plenty of encouragement at home.