Champion jockey Oisin Murphy must serve a seven-day suspension from Monday – but he had words of warning for his title rivals after winning the Betfair Sprint Cup on Dream Of Dreams at Haydock.
Murphy is just two away from 100 winners for the campaign and has a healthy lead over nearest challengers William Buick and Tom Marquand, but he expects the gap to have closed during an absence which rules him out of this week’s Pertemps St Leger Festival at Doncaster.
“I start a seven-day suspension from Monday – so when I get back I shall have to keep the pressure up on the chasing pack,” he said.
“I’ll just try and get racing out of my mind for a week. Although that’s the plan, I don’t know … seven days is a long time!”
Murphy won Haydock’s Group One feature on The Tin Man in 2018, and was always keen on the chances of Dream Of Dreams – having guided the Sir Michael Stoute-trained six-year-old to an impressive victory in the Hungerford Stakes at Newbury last month.
He was spot on too as the 5-2 favourite duly delivered with a length-and-a-quarter call over Glen Shiel, with Golden Horde third and Art Power fourth.
“I was excited about getting back on him, because he was so impressive at Newbury,” he added.
“We edged over to the rail a bit and split into two groups. I was happy to follow Hollie (Doyle) on Glen Shiel. I was happy to stay where I was. He travelled well, and picked up slowly.
“He didn’t have that electric burst, but I think that was because there wasn’t a lot to race with. In a big field where he can come through, he’d be more electric.
“He doesn’t do a whole pile in front, but he does enough – which is the main thing.
“He does lean to the left a bit, but I had Golden Horde in my mind, and he raced in the centre. I thought if he did go a little bit that way he’d have something to race with.
“As a child you watch the big jockeys win the big races, so to ride Group One winners for Sir Michael Stoute is the stuff of dreams.”
Doyle may not quite be in position to launch a serious challenge to Murphy this season, but she excelled again on Glen Shiel in her first domestic Group One – having finished third on Dame Malliot in her only previous experience at the top level in Germany last month.
“I’m so proud of him – I got a massive buzz out of that,” she said.
“He rallied when headed, and he’s chased the winner all the way to the line.
“I can’t fault him. I’m so pleased for (trainer) Archie (Watson) and the owners.
“I thought I might win two (furlongs) down. Nothing was on my girths, but then the winner started coming. I’m very pleased – it was a massive run.
“I’d say Champions Day is the next target (for him).”
If so, Glen Shiel is likely to face Dream Of Dreams again in the Qipco British Champions Sprint at Ascot next month.
Philip Robinson, joint racing manager to winning owner Saeed Suhail, said: “He’s just all of a sudden improved. The gelding (operation, last autumn) has helped, without a shadow of a doubt. His mind is in the job.
“He’s a different horse now, and I think Sir Michael’s big trick with him is to keep him fresh, and he’s giving him plenty of time between races. He’s thriving.
“He’s discovering how easy it is – and now he’s got his confidence, onwards and upwards.
“Champions Day is very possible. I think that will probably be his next target.”