Rain could tempt We Have a Dream to run at Wincanton
TOMORROW sees Wincanton’s big meeting of the year. The going was good to firm as of Thursday, but with plenty of rain anticipated the chances are that the ground will be suitable for last year’s unbeaten juvenile, We Have A Dream, to run in the Elite Hurdle. He is the highest rated entry.
The Badger Ales Trophy is always hotly contested. Present Man, owned by the sponsors, won last year’s race under Bryony Frost and tries for a repeat victory off a mark nine pounds higher. Paul Nicholls has a couple of others entered and whichever he runs will be respected. Tom George’s horses are in form too and Sumkindofking has a fair each-way chance if the going is not too soft.
Last weekend Enable proved she was too good for her Breeders Cup Turf opposition. It remains to be seen if she will stay in training as a five-year-old to try to win a third Arc.
It’s remarkable that two other globally prestigious races, the Breeders Cup Mile and Tuesday’s Melbourne Cup, should go to horses trained in Britain.
As a two-year-old in 2017 Sir Michael Stoute’s Expert Eye won Goodwood’s Group 2 Vintage Stakes, but faded afterwards. He finished lame in the Dewhurst and was well beaten in this year’s Guineas. However, he recovered by trouncing the opposition in the Jersey Stakes at Royal Ascot and collecting a good race at the Ebor meeting. This seemed to mark him as a Group 3 seven furlong horse, yet his trainer was confident he’d get a mile in the highest grade. And he was proved right, admittedly in what may have been a slightly substandard renewal of the Mile. Expert Eye will stay in training.
Charlie Appleby began Cross Counter’s career in two little races at Wolverhampton last winter. A decision was made to geld him and in the summer he was beaten in a Class 5 event before winning at Ascot and Goodwood. The latter was in the Gordon Stakes, a St Leger trial, whereupon Appleby and Godolphin decided to go for the Melbourne Cup, but without a prep run Down Under. Instead, York’s Great Voltigeur was the steppingstone, and his second place there earned him a place in Australia’s top race carrying just eight stone. British horses, who’d never won it before, finished 1-2-3. Though he finished the two miles well, Cross Counter’s breeding doesn’t suggest domestic Cup races are his forte. It will be interesting to see which distances they aim him at.