Past Winners » Dave’s Dream


Some of the value has gone out of Dave’s Dream since Pricewise put him up this morning, but the 9/2 at which you can back him now is still too big in my book, and he is worth backing at that.

Impressive winner of the Imperial Cup in March 2009, the Nicky Henderson-trained gelding looked really good on his chasing bow at Huntingdon around this time last year, jumping well and keeping on nicely to beat My Moment easily, and that horse went and beat Copper Bleu in a beginners’ chase at Warwick on his next start.

Dave’s Dream probably didn’t go on as it looked like he might after that, but there were excuses. He floundered in heavy ground behind Take The Breeze at Newbury, over a distance that probably stretched him anyway, and he made a fairly bad mistake at a crucial stage next time at Doncaster, and actually did well to finish fourth behind Tazbar. The distance of the Jewson Chase, the race that he contested on his final run last season, was way too far, although he was never really travelling anyway.

It is a little bit of a concern that he has yet to finish better than sixth in three starts at Cheltenham but, again, there have been excuses for all three performances. The two keys to him seem to be, firstly, that he is at his best when he is fresh, and secondly that he is at his best over two miles. The one time that he raced over the minimum distance at Cheltenham was in the 2009 County Hurdle, and that was just six days after his Imperial Cup win, the lure of a lucrative bonus probably enticing Henderson to allow him take his chance, perhaps against his better judgement.

He beat Carruthers in a bumper on his racecourse debut at Uttoxeter, a left-handed fairly undulating course, so it isn’t that he has to have a flat track. More importantly, he has won all three of his seasonal debuts. Some of the Henderson horses are coming on for a run, but he usually hits peak form for this meeting, and it would be surprising if he didn’t have Dave’s Dream fit enough to do himself justice today.

Dave’s Dream is only seven and has run just four times over fences, so he has plenty of scope for progression. His rating of 137 is 5lb lower than his rating over hurdles, a rating that was achieved in just six runs over the smaller obstacles, yet he has the potential to be at least as good over fences as he was over hurdles. He was the best hurdler of all of these. Ground just on the easy side of good is ideal, and it is easy to see him running a big race.

I do like Safari Journey, he is interesting even though he is up a stone for his Ascot win, but he faces a tough task, conceding weight to some potentially classy opponents, and I would have wanted significantly better than 9/2 have him on side in a contest as hot as this. Next time may be the time to catch him, hopefully after he under-performs here and people think that the blinkers second time didn’t have the same effect at they did first time.

Keelaghan is also interesting, he beat Fosters Cross at Ballinrobe in August and he looked good in winning at Cork last time, but that wasn’t a strong race at all. The Irish handicapper raised him 3lb for that, which brings him up to a mark of 131, his highest ever rating, which isn’t ideal for a near 11-year-old who has raced 37 times in his life and 13 times over fences. They have put him in short enough today, presumably as much due to the AJ Martin/AP McCoy combination as to his proven ability, and that is just too short.

Rivaliste is the other interesting one, he raced too freely in the Jewson and the drop back down to two miles could suit, but he didn’t jump at all well in the Jewson, the only time that he has raced at Cheltenham, all his other runs in the UK were on flat tracks, and, at a similar price, I prefer Dave’s Dream by a fair way.

DAVE’S DREAM WON (ADV 9/2, SP 100/30)