Previews25 May 2024

'He's not drawn the best' - can Group 1 winner Live In The Dream make successful seasonal debut at Haydock?

It makes sense on the surface to have Live In The Dream as the early favourite for the Temple Stakes. He is the sole Group 1 winner in the field, yet avoids a penalty for August's Nunthorpe success. He also has course form; he was third in this race last year. 

You can start the case against by picking at the second of those points. He covered the course in almost exactly 59 seconds last year. When he won the Nunthorpe, he clocked 56.8 seconds. Anyone familiar with Live In The Dream's explosive style of racing would conclude that he is better the less time he has to keep it up. Inferring from going allowances and recent history, in a soft-ground Temple Stakes the winner will take over a minute to complete the course. That could well be long enough for the overnight favourite.

Ground could also be a factor for Asfoora, who travels over from Australia. She has won twice on ground described as soft, but one of those wins was still recorded in a time of 57.5 seconds. That would stretch the definition of soft ground as we would understand it in this part of the world.

There are a few others who have only a small amount to find on form and have demonstrable soft-ground form. Vadream is clearly one. She comes here in form having been second in the Palace House, which was probably one of her big targets for the season, three weeks ago.

Rogue Lightning and in particular Equality have long threatened to become Group-class sprinters. Both also have form on softer conditions. Given that he comes here off a career-best effort, when he tacked across from a less-than-ideal draw at Musselburgh, course winner Equality arguably offers value at odds well into double figures. He was a 40-1 also-ran last year, but as has already been established both he and the race are different prospects this year.
Race analysis by Keith Melrose

What they say

Henry Dwyer, trainer of Asfoora
She's settled in better than I thought. She's always been a filly that has been quite hard to deal with and a bit busy, but she did a bit of travel to Sydney last year and I think that really made her mentally. We're going with the mindset that she can finish in the first three and I'd be a bit disappointed if she wasn't. We don't know the comparison between formlines – she could come out and win by four lengths; she could be beaten by four – it's just hard to know before she steps out. Everyone wants a runner at Royal Ascot, but I feel the Nunthorpe is probably her best chance of winning a Group 1 race in the UK.

Charlie Hills, trainer of Equality
He’s drawn on the wing, but I’ve been very happy with the way he has been training.

Adam West, trainer of Live In The Dream
He's looking well and should be in the mix. He’s not drawn the best, but he makes his own running anyway. He nearly got away with soft ground at Newmarket last year and should be fine on this less stiff track. He’s not 100 per cent fit — it’s a long season – but ought to run well.

Charlie Fellowes, trainer of Vadream
She has come out of the Palace House in good order and has enjoyed as good a start to a season as she ever has. Five furlongs at Haydock should be lovely for her. There is lots to like about her chance. Conditions are in her favour.

Karl Burke, trainer of Beautiful Diamond
It was a great run from her at Newmarket. She’s come on fitness-wise for the run, handles cut in the ground, and has a good each-way chance.
Reporting by Richard Birch

Read more . . .

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