Dream Of Dreams finally gained the big-race victory his efforts over the years have deserved with an authoritative success in the Unibet Hungerford Stakes at Newbury.
Having filled the runner-up spot in nine of his previous 26 starts – including for the second year running in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot on his return in June – the Sir Michael Stoute-trained Dream Ahead gelding enjoyed a change of luck in the Group Two prize.
Racing just behind the early pace cut out by Lincoln Bright, the Saeed Suhail-owned six year old – who finished second in the 2018 renewal of the seven-furlong contest – moved effortlessly into contention on the bridle under Oisin Murphy approaching the closing stages.
Once sent on by the champion jockey the response was immediate, with the 13-8 favourite quickening smartly in a matter of strides to cross the line seven lengths clear of Breathtaking Look, before being walked back in to the sounds of Fleetwood Mac’s chart-topper Dreams, following an initiative by the sponsor.
Stoute’s assistant James Horton said: “He travelled very well through that and picked up nicely. He always threatened to win a big one and I’m delighted for everyone at home that has done a great job with him.
“He has been knocking on the door, this lad. He has been second in two Diamond Jubilees and has been very unlucky not to win either. It’s great for Saeed to have another big winner with a proper horse, and it’s great for the boss.”
Though Dream Of Dreams was made a 5-1 chance for the Betfair Sprint Cup at Haydock by the race sponsors and William Hill, plans for his next outing remain fluid.
Horton said: “I think he is very versatile and can go six or seven. He just needs a nice pace and something to aim at.
“We will have to see how he is. We think he runs best fresh so we will get him home, freshen him up and see where we go from here.
“We have to run him when he is bouncing and if he isn’t, it is not right. Before Ascot and today we have been very pleased with him, so we know the timing is right.
“We will talk to Saeed, Bruce Raymond and the boss. No plans are imminent anyway.”
The victory was a poignant one in a week that Stoute has had to come to terms with the loss of his long-term partner Coral Pritchard-Gordon, following a long battle with illness.
Horton said: “It will mean a lot to everyone. It is a very sad time at Freemason Lodge at the moment. Coral was a rock for everyone in the yard, the boss more than anyone. She looked after everyone. She was always the first person to come out and make sure everyone was OK.
“If anyone had any issues or problems she was always the person to go to. It has been a tough week. This is a very poignant winner for the boss and everyone at home.”
It was a second Pattern-race success inside of a week for Stoute, who claimed a Group Three triumph with Regal Reality at Salisbury on Sunday, and Horton hopes it is a sign of things to come for the rest of the season.
He added: “We started well, then we just hit a bit of a flat spot, but the horses seem very well at the moment. They all seem to be running well and long may it continue.”