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By Tom Peacock, Press Association Sport. Last Updated: 01/10/10 5:02pm
Dream Ahead roars to Middle Park glory at Newmarket.
Dream Ahead added another level of intrigue to the two-year-old division by providing trainer David Simcock with his first British Group One in the Shadwell Middle Park Stakes at Newmarket.
It was not so much a victory as a demolition, with the unbeaten-in-three colt sweeping through to lead with staggering ease at the furlong pole and finishing nine lengths clear despite drifting left across the track.
Dream Ahead is now the second favourite behind Frankel for next year's 2000 Guineas and he could yet challenge Henry Cecil's freakish colt, and the almost equally exciting Saamidd, in the Dubai Dewhurst Stakes at this course on October 16.
This has been a breakthrough season for Simcock and even more so for jockey William Buick, and Dream Ahead (5-4 favourite) had already provided the pair with a moment to savour in last month's Prix Morny.
Strong Suit and Approve, who were split by a short-head in second and third, may have been unable to test the winner, but Simcock's next mission will be to discover whether his star can handle quicker conditions as the Rowley Mile was described as soft after an onslaught of unsavoury weather.
Simcock said: "It's very much a relief. I said he was more mentally mature, but he's still maturing and you'd like to think there's more to come.
"He won't run on anything with firm in the ground description this year. In France it dried out and was definitely good ground. He is certainly better with cut in the ground and has got a big high action.
"I'd really like to see him run over seven furlongs and he is in the Dewhurst, but I will have to talk to the owner.
"I don't really want to take him for two runs in two weeks, but it's there as an option."
Buick added: "He's a machine to do what he did. He just eats up the other horses and it seems like he's taking one stride to the others taking 10.
"David trains the horse and sees him every day, so it's all up to him. For me, it's him and Frankel this year.
"I'd be confident he'll stay a mile, so bring on next year."
Richard Hannon was delighted with the run of Strong Suit and is looking forward to next season with him
"He has run well on ground that didn't suit him. That will be it for the season and we will bring him back for the big ones next year," said the trainer.
Approve may well run again in 2010 after yet another fine effort by the William Haggas-trained colt.
"He has run a blinder once again and we are thrilled to bits," said Harry Herbert, racing manager to owners Highclere Thoroughbred Racing.
"He could run again this season. We will have a good look at the programme book."
Sky Bet cut the winner to 6s (from 16s) for the 2000 Guineas. Stan James are 5s from the same price and Coral go 7s.
Matt Doyle of Sky Bet said: "Although he relished the ground, Dream Ahead has put down a clear marker for top Classic honours next year leaving the Coventry Stakes winner and a dual Group Two winner trailing in his wake."