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Wednesday, 12 December, 2018

Connections hope Dream Boat can sail once again

My Dream Boat (right) returns to Sandown in a bid to repeat last year's victory in the Gordon Richards Stakes
1 of 1

2.20 Sandown
Bet365 Gordon Richards Stakes | Group 3 | 1m2f | 4yo+ | ITV3/RUK

Wayne Rooney is back scoring for Manchester United and Aberdeen's Adam Rooney hit the net after just 12 seconds of the Scottish Cup semi-final – now Paul and Clare Rooney bid to be the stars of the show.

Despite going close in the Grand National when The Last Samuri finished a gallant second last year, the best horse to carry their colours is My Dream Boat, who returns to the scene of his breakthrough triumph here.

He took this race when step upped to 1m2f by Clive Cox 12 months ago and went on to prove himself at the highest level by landing the Group 1 Prince Of Wales's Stakes at Royal Ascot.

The race named after Britain's winning-most jockey has become a key spring target of late, with Noble Mission (2014) and Al Kazeem (2013) landing this contest before scoring three times apiece in Group 1 company later in the same season.

Deauville, Royal Artillery and Ulysses are among the others with Group 1 entries in this year's field.

Fine record

Sir Michael Stoute has won this race seven times and Ulysses is bidding to follow in the footprints of Hard Fought (1981), Dolpour (1990), Singspiel (1996), Little Rock (2000), Ask (2008), Tartan Bearer (2009) and Glass Harmonium (2010).

Artillery aimed at familiar target

John Gosden runs Royal Artillery as he bids for a fourth success in 11 years, following Day Flight (2006), Colombian (2012) and Western Hymn (2015).

No Irish winner for 37 years

If Deauville were to score for Aidan O'Brien, he would be the first Irish winner of this race since the Vincent O'Brien-trained Gregorian in 1980.


What they say

James Fanshawe, trainer of Arthenus
He's a difficult horse to find a first race for but he's won a Listed race, he's been working nicely and he looks jolly well.

Chris Wall, trainer of First Sitting
He's in good heart, had a good winter and a good preparation. I want to get him started where he can get some half-decent ground – he likes to get his toe in – though he is probably not good enough to trouble the principals.

Clive Cox, trainer of My Dream Boat
I'm delighted with him, he's wintered really well. He had a fabulous season last year and it will be nice to get him back on track, he's in great nick. I hope conditions are not too quick, he has won on good to firm but we are very much aware that he prefers an easier surface. 

John Gosden, trainer of Royal Artillery
He's the biggest and heaviest horse in the yard and will come on for the run, I'm sure. This looks a nice starting point for him, he'll like the track and he's been pleasing at home.

Alan Cooper, racing manager to Flaxman Stables, owners of Ulysses
He's in good form and he had a good winter – Sir Michael Stoute is very happy with him. This is an ideal place to start. He's a late-developing horse who we think merits big-race entries but we'll see how he gets on tomorrow.

He's a late-developing horse who we think merits big-race entries but we'll see how he gets on tomorrow
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