The ultimate aim of a crack at the Group 1 Cheveley Park Stakes is on the cards for Stuart Williams’ Desert Dreamer, but only if she can oblige in Saturday’s Princess Margaret Keeneland Stakes at Ascot.
There may be two months between now and then, but the enthusiasm Williams has for his chestnut filly is clear to see, with a route after this weekend’s Group 3 planned out.
“The plan at the moment is that if we win on Saturday, we’ll head to the Lowther and then if we run well there, we’ll head to the Cheveley Park,” Williams told Tote.
“We can obviously recalibrate depending on how we go at Ascot and in the Lowther, but that’s the idea.”
The daughter of Oasis Dream has held her own against some talented fillies in her five races to date, but when arriving at Newmarket for her debut, for all that Williams rated his two-year-old, it looked as though she might have to wait to get off the mark.
“We knew she was a decent filly early on, she’d been going really well at home. But when we got to the races, everybody in the field fancied their horse that day. We stood there in the paddock thinking we might have found a pretty hot race, and as it turns out it was a hot race,” he said.
“There have been so many winners come out of that race, and luckily we came out best on the day and I think we were the best horse in the field.”
She has gone on to showcase her talents with a win on the Rowley Mile and two seconds on the July course, with a slightly disappointing run at Royal Ascot sandwiched in between. For her trainer though, there were enough excuses to go again with his filly.
“We were drawn on the wrong side in the Queen Mary which didn’t help. With the American horses in the field they just went so fast early on, that it took away from her finishing speed a little bit, which is her strong point.
“By the time we got to the furlong and a half pole, the ones on the near side had gone and we were just too far back to really get a good blow at them.”
As for the thunderstorms and heavy rain forecast for Ascot on Friday and Saturday, they’re of little concern for Williams, for all that his filly has only run on decent ground to date.
“Rain wouldn’t worry me. She’s fairly flexible as far as the ground is concerned, I just wouldn’t want it extreme either way. She’s out of a Montjeu mare and Oasis Dream went on any ground.”
She’s already clashed with five of Saturday’s opponents, but the one to get the better of her is System, who flew home up the rail in the Listed Empress Fillies’ Stakes, while Desert Dreamer was left to weave her way through a busy field, only to be beaten a neck, and Williams is hopeful of a reverse at Ascot.
“She didn’t get the ideal run through at Newmarket that day. Obviously that was only System’s second start so she’s entitled to improve, but I’m looking forward to the rematch.”
Rapscallion ready to Lord it up in the International
Also representing the Stuart Williams team at Ascot on Saturday is Lord Rapscallion who lines up under Hollie Doyle in the International Handicap.
While two excellent runs in defeat in the Buckingham Palace Stakes and the Bunbury Cup at Newmarket have been particular highlights, they were a continuation of good form for the five-year-old.
“He's been running really well since switching him to the turf having been disappointing on the all-weather in the winter, which is obviously not his bag,” Williams told Tote.
“These high-class handicaps where they go hard and fast from the start seem to suit and bring out the best in him.”
Although there’s hope for another big run, the Newmarket handler is in no doubt of the task that faces him, with the runaway Bunbury Cup victor in the field again.
“I think everyone is banking on Motakhayyel not being the same horse he was at Newmarket. If he is, I think we’re all playing for second place.
“But if he’s not the same horse he is at Newmarket elsewhere, then it might give us a chance.”
Tactics are yet to be decided for the Tom Morley-owned gelding, having broken well and led in the early stages.
“At Newmarket we ended up giving Motakhayyel a nice lead to the furlong pole which obviously wasn’t ideal for us. We’ll have a look and make a plan.
“We wanted to be fairly positive in that race as I couldn’t see a lot of pace in the race. It was Hollie’s idea, in that she jumped really well and decided to be in front, which was not a problem and I was pleased with him.”
Victory for one, or both, of Stuart Williams’ runners on Saturday would add to a tally that has already surpassed that of 2020.
In fact, his haul of 41 winners is already his fifth highest number of wins in 27 years of training.
Victory for Desert Dreamer would be just Williams’ third domestic Group winner, and with the potential for more to come from her, there’s every reason to be excited for the Diomed Stables.
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