Dream Of Dreams is set to face 12 rivals when he bids to strike for the first time at the top level in the Betfair Sprint Cup at Haydock on Saturday.
Sir Michael Stoute’s charge has been beaten a head in the last two renewals of the Diamond Jubilee at Royal Ascot – first by the brilliant Blue Point in 2019 and then by Hello Youmzain earlier this summer.
He bounced back to winning ways in spectacular style in last month’s Hungerford Stakes at Newbury and is the marginal favourite to follow up in this weekend’s Group One feature on Merseyside under champion jockey Oisin Murphy.
Maurice de Gheest third Lope Y Fernandez had been thought likely to wait for Irish Champions Weekend, but has been declared by Aidan O’Brien, with Ryan Moore booked for the ride.
O’Brien said: “He did his blow this morning and blew very well, so that’s why we declared him. He has form with an ease in the ground and he ran very well last time in France.”
Kevin Ryan’s Hello Youmzain struck gold 12 months ago and returns to defend his crown. Since his narrow defeat of Dream Of Dreams at Ascot, the Kodiac colt has finished fifth in the July Cup and runner-up in the Prix Maurice de Gheest. Ryan also runs veteran sprinter Brando and the the filly Queen Jo Jo.
Adam Ryan, assistant to his father, said on Thursday: "Hello Youmzain came out of France in great order. He takes his racing very well and is exactly where we want him at this point.
"I think you have to be confident about his chance. He has great form at Haydock - the only time he has been beaten there was on his second start as a two-year-old and that was by a horse [San Donato] who would go on to finish third in the French 2,000 Guineas.
"Haydock clearly plays to his strengths and he goes there as the defending champion. I think it is fair to say that he is arguably the one they all have to beat.
"It would be great achievement for the horse and the team if he could win the Sprint Cup again, as only one other horse has managed it. He has been a pleasure to train this year and has definitely proved himself as one of the best sprinters around."
Ryan said of Brando: "You know what you are going to get from Brando. Unfortunately, he has missed a couple of engagements this year due to the ground and so we had to get a run into him before Haydock over a trip that was further than ideal.
"The drop back to six furlongs with a strong gallop is exactly what he wants. There is still life in the old boy yet and I would not be surprised to see him run another big race.
"Queen Jo Jo is in the form of her life. She is thriving at the minute and when these fillies get on a roll, you never quite know where they might end up. She deserves a crack at this."
James Fanshawe saddles 2018 Sprint Cup hero The Tin Man, as well as Archer’s Dream, while Tim Easterby’s Art Power bids to bounce back from a disappointing display in the Nunthorpe at York a fortnight ago.
The Owen Burrows-trained Tabdeed steps up in class after touching off The Tin Man in Newbury’s Hackwood Stakes and the record-breaking Hollie Doyle has her first ride in a British Group One aboard Archie Watson’s Glen Shiel.
Aidan Fogarty’s Forever In Dreams is a second Irish raider. David O’Meara’s Stewards’ Cup winner Summerghand and Clive Cox’s Commonwealth Cup hero Golden Horde complete the field.
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