The third time was the charm for Dream of Dreams in Saturday’s Diamond Jubilee S. (G1) at Royal Ascot. Previously runner-up by narrow margins in the 2019 and 2020 editions of the six-furlong sprint, Dream of Dreams excelled in his third quest for glory, producing a strong late rally to make his Royal Ascot dreams come true.
A dozen runners faced the starter for the Diamond Jubilee, a “Win and You’re In” qualifier for the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1). Fresh off an easy listed stakes victory at Windsor to kick off 2021, Dream of Dreams was favored at 3-1 under internationally acclaimed jockey Ryan Moore.
Suffice to say, Dream of Dreams delivered on expectations. The seven-year-old son of Dream Ahead was content to fall off the pace early on as Glen Shiel and Art Power vied for early command on opposite sides of the course. But when Moore asked Dream of Dreams to accelerate, the response was undeniable, and the favorite soon edged away to beat Glen Shiel by a length.
“I am delighted—the horse deserves it,” said winning trainer Sir Michael Stoute. “The past two years, he has been beaten a head finishing fastest of all, so I am really thrilled for him.
“He has got more and more relaxed; he doesn’t go to post like a sprinter, does he? I thought he was going to pull up halfway down. He is more relaxed, and a little better. He’s fully developed and strong now. But it’s his mind—he’s really, really chilling.”
The final time over soft ground was 1:14.87. Art Power held on to finish third, followed by Happy Power, Garrus, Sonaiyla, Nahaarr, Ventura Rebel, Royal Commando, Summerghand, Final Song, and Namos.
“Sir Michael has been great to me throughout my whole career,” said Moore. “He has got this horse, who is seven now, to perform here three times in a row and it’s great that he’s able to win today.”
The final day of racing at Royal Ascot brought two other group stakes to the table. The first was the Jersey S. (G3), a seven-furlong sprint for sophomores. Godolphin and trainer Charlie Appleby held a strong hand with Creative Force and Naval Crown, the joint favorites at 5-1. In the end, they ran one-two, with Creative Force running down his frontrunning stablemate to prevail by 1 1/4 lengths under jockey James Doyle.
“Both horses turned up in great order and full credit to the team,” said Appleby. “I worked them together probably about 10 days ago and said to Marie (Murphy) and Alex (Merriam), the assistants, ‘we don’t want to be doing that again’ as they are both very genuine horses and it was a stronger piece of work than I ideally wanted. But it just showed their wellness.”
Creative Force entered the Jersey with a near-perfect 4-for-5 resume, including three straight victories against handicap or listed stakes company. But the Jersey marked his first triumph at the group stakes level; his lone defeat came when finishing 10th in Royal Ascot’s Coventry S. (G2) as a juvenile.
“We were hopeful on Creative Force’s pedigree and what he has shown us at home in his attitude—and the way he is finishing out in his gallops and his races—that stepping up to seven furlongs would be within his realm,” said Appleby, “and he’s gone and duly obliged today.”
Appleby indicated the Prix Maurice de Gheest (G1) at Deauville in France could be next on the agenda for both Creative Force and Naval Crown. If these plans proceed, the Godolphin duo may face off against Campanelle, the American-trained winner of the Commonwealth Cup (G1) on Friday at Royal Ascot.
Another highlight on closing day of the royal meet was the 1 1/2-mile Hardwicke S. (G2) for older runners. Four-time group stakes winners Broome was favored to claim top honors off a narrow defeat in the 1 5/16-mile Tattersalls Gold Cup (G1), but the longer distance and testing arguably proved too formidable. After rallying into contention, Broome flattened out to finish second by 1 1/2 lengths against the accomplished filly Wonderful Tonight, who tracked the pace before pouncing to a comfortable victory under William Buick.
“She is top-class. She probably does handle this ground well compared to some others, but I thought that performance today against the colts was her best yet,” said Buick. “And she showed a turn of foot today that I don’t think she’d shown before. I thought she looked great— (trainer) David (Menuisier) and his team had done a great job with her over the winter and have bided their time.”
Wonderful Tonight hadn’t raced since wrapping up 2020 with back-to-back victories in the Prix de Royallieu (G1) and British Champions Fillies & Mares S. (G1), the latter over the same course and 1 1/2-mile distance as the Hardwicke. All five of Wonderful Tonight’s victories have come over soft or heavy going, so it’s safe to conclude the Menuisier trainee relished the wet conditions at Ascot.
“Wonderful Tonight is an absolute champion. I couldn’t be bullish in the press before the race because she was always going to improve for the run,” said Menuisier. “She was running against tough opposition with the benefit of at least one run, so you always have to be on the side of caution, but she is amazing. I didn’t know what to say in the last 50 yards, it gave me a great sense of pride.
“The fact that she handles soft/heavy ground so well compensated for the lack of fitness today. Can I go as far to say she will show the same traits on good ground? I don’t know. Perhaps we will try in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (G1) if the ground happened to be good. Would we try her on good ground before that? I don’t know. She loves Longchamp and Ascot so we will keep an eye on all the races she can run it at both venues.”
Toward the end of the day, jockey Oisin Murphy picked up a win in the Golden Gates S. handicap aboard Foxes Tales. The success marked his fifth of the meet, sufficient to secure Murphy his first award as Royal Ascot’s leading jockey.
John and Thady Gosden topped the trainer rankings with four wins, one place, and two thirds, narrowly edging Andrew Balding (four wins and three thirds) via a tiebreaking procedure. Godolphin brought home the leading owner award with three wins across the five-day meet.