Ed Walker will pick from an array of group one and two targets for Dreamloper after the talented filly gets her career back on track at Ascot.
Walker was extremely disappointed and unable to explain Dreamloper’s poor performance as she could only manage 10th of 18 as a favorite in the Kensington Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot.
But she was in revengeful form again when she returned to the Berkshire track for the Valiant Stakes last month – and Lambourn’s coach is therefore encouraged to consider high-level missions such as the Matron Stakes at Leopardstown. and the Newmarket Sun Chariot later in the season.
He’s even considered a possible transatlantic trip to Saratoga this month – although right now that challenge for this month’s Grade Two Ballston Spa Stakes is on the back burner.
Walker said: “I left (Royal) Ascot so drained and disappointed.
“I (then) did the somewhat unorthodox thing of running badly in a handicap and sticking it in a Group race (the next one).
“But she’s a well-bred filly, and we always agreed that the plan was always to try and get to Kensington Palace and then go find the black guy after Ascot.
“So just because she threw the first real dud of her career, I still thought it was worth sticking with the plan.”
Dreamloper belatedly agreed with his trainer.
He added: “In her run before Royal Ascot, she and (Sir Michael Stoute’s Valiant Stakes finalist) Lights On were in a head-down finish that we came out of on the wrong side – then she (Lights On) went. and won a Listed by 10 lengths at Pontefract.
“It gave me confidence that she’s a Stakes filly so it paid off in spades which is great.
“Everything from here is a bonus – we are targeting group 2 and group one.
“I entered her against foals as well. We actually completed her for the Matron – so the Matron, Sun Chariot, and I’m having fun taking her to Saratoga for the Ballston Spa (August 28).
“I think we’re probably not going to do it, but we’re really weighing our options. I think the only reason we wouldn’t go to Ballston Spa is that it might just hamper some of its opportunities here in Ireland. and French.
“So we’ll probably keep her here for now, and see.”
Dreamloper’s nearly five-length win in Group Three at Ascot is over a mile, but Walker thinks she can be just as skillful at that distance or a little shorter.
He said: “She is a very good filly. She was quite difficult to train – she was always a little too enthusiastic.
“The girl who rides it every day, Molly Stratton, did a wonderful job turning it off – and it turned out well.
“Where we’re going from here, I’m not quite sure (yet). But we’ll be chasing the black guy, obviously with our eye on the grand prize of going for some form of group one.
“She’s got a lot of speed. They didn’t go fast in Ascot, in the Valiant, and started accelerating her from four.
“She hit the line really well and won well, but I don’t think that’s a huge endurance test. I think it probably really suited her good footing so I would happily come back to seven. “
He was also excited about Great Ambassador’s efforts as a close third in Saturday’s Stewards’ Cup at Goodwood – and he too could soon be ready for a rise in class.
“I was thrilled and gutted at the same time with Goodwood,” said Walker, who believes the great ambassador could easily have won the famous handicap award with better fortune.
He added: “If he had shot the other way he probably would have won, and he probably would have won if he hadn’t come across the track looking for company.
“It’s heartbreaking because I think we’ve finished second, third and fourth in the race the last few years. It’s a great race to win, and I’ll keep trying.”
The next stop to improve the four-year-old Grand Ambassador, meanwhile, may or may not be in the company of people with disabilities – and could involve a further drop in travel.
“Maybe a Portland (at Doncaster next month), five and a half (furlongs),” Walker said.
“It’s amazing how fast this horse has – (jockey) Will (Buick) said you can take him down to five.
“I think he’ll end up being a model book horse before the end of the year.
“We’ll see if we keep trying to win those sprint handicaps, which are almost impossible to win, or if we go up (in class).
“We’ve had a few tries (with big handicaps) now. He’s a very good horse.”