Dream Ahead, last season's English juvenile co-champion, got back to his winning ways—and in doing so gave jockey Hayley Turner her first group I victory—when he stormed past Bated Breath near the wire to capture the $639,484 Darley July Cup (Eng-I) at Newmarket July 9.
With the victory, Turner became just the second female jockey to ride a group I winner in England, joining Alex Greaves who won the 1997 Nunthorpe Stakes (Eng-I) with Ya Malak.
Dream Ahead, who along with Frankel was named champion juvenile colt in England last year, was making just his second start this season. In his previous race, the son of Diktat finished a well-beaten fifth to the Juddmonte star in the St. James’s Palace Stakes (Eng-I) at Royal Ascot.
A field of 16 lined up for the July Cup, with Godolphin’s Delegator going off as the slight favorite over Star Witness, the crack Australian sprinter who had finished third in the Golden Jubilee Stakes (Eng-I) in his previous start.
Dream Ahead broke well and was settled into mid-pack by Turner as Libranno and Elzaam went to the front to set the pace. They were tracked closely by Steve Drowne aboard Bated Breath, while Frankie Dettori had Delegator placed toward the rear of the field.
With just over a furlong to run, Libranno still clung to a narrow lead but was beginning to weaken. Bated Breath, who had been just off Libranno’s flank throughout much of the race, drove past him and edged away to a slight lead. Dream Ahead, who had been stuck behind a wall of horses, finally found an opening and stormed through, rolling past Bated Breath in the final strides for a half-length victory.
Hitchens stayed on well to finish third, another 1 1/2 lengths further back. Delegator could finish no better than fifth, while Star Witness struggled home in 10th.
Final time for the six furlongs was 1:10.66 over the good to firm going.
David Simcock, who trains Dream Ahead for owner Khalifa Dasmal, admitted after the race that Turner was not his first choice to ride his colt. Regular rider William Buick was riding at York and Jamie Spencer will be riding Cape Blanco in the Man o’ War Stakes (gr. IT) at Belmont Park.
“William would have been first choice and Jamie Spencer would have been second, but he’s in America,” Simcock said. “But Hayley has ridden winners for me before and has a good strike rate for the stable.”
Dream Ahead was bred in Kentucky by Darley, and is out of the Cadeaux Genereux mare, Land of Dreams. The bay colt was consigned by Bluewater Sales, agent, to the 2009 Keeneland September yearling sale, where he sold for $11,000 to Federico Barberini, agent.