Prince Of Lir's Live In The Dream Wins The Nunthorpe

Live In The Dream with Adam West |


   It was a case of carpe diem at York on Friday, as Steve and Jolene De'Lemos's Live In The Dream (Ire) (Prince Of Lir {Ire}–Approaching Autumn {GB}, by New Approach {Ire}) carried some of the minnows of the racing world aloft on his shoulders with a sensational front-running display in the feature G1 Coolmore Wootton Bassett Nunthorpe S.

Rapid from the gates, rapid throughout the first three furlongs and ruthlessly determined for the final two, the kingpin of Adam West's small Epsom base strained every nerve and sinew to lift the little-known Sean Kirrane to a momentous triumph. A length behind was last year's heroine Highfield Princess (Ire) (Night Of Thunder {Ire}), with another 3/4 of a length back to fellow headline-maker TDN Rising Star Bradsell (GB) (Tasleet {GB}) in third as the big guns wilted in his wake.

“I never thought it was possible to win. We were laughing about there being six places and how his odds were so skinny,” West said of the 28-1 winner, who now has his ticket to Santa Anita having mastered this “Win and You're In” contest. “I think we'll go to the Breeders' Cup, as I think he's 10 pounds better on a turning track. That's a big statement, but I do. He can get a breather round a bend, whereas on these straight courses he usually can't but he just nicked enough today.”

“We were going to take him for a race at Del Mar but we costed it, we're not a big yard and it was too expensive to go. Trying to make ends meet to try to get that money together and both get him over there and get him back is just all taken care of and it's some rollercoaster.”

Starting his ascent in the ratings with a brace of handicap wins last spring, Live In The Dream managed a second in Sandown's Listed Scurry S. on his black-type bow last June but was on the shelf come August with no sign that he would ultimately be able to mix it at this level. Despite that, the extremities of the sprinting and staying divisions still remain open to the possibility of these rare David and Goliath moments and this was another to add to a small yet precious collection.

In each start during this transformative season, he had carried Kirrane who had a three-pound claim for the gelding's two wins at Lingfield and Pontefract in March and April and it has proven a partnership made in heaven. Wearing his heart on his sleeve every time, the chestnut who was a bargain £24,000 buy at the 2020 Goffs Sportsman's Sale was worn down late by Vadream (GB) (Brazen Beau {Aus}) in Newmarket's G3 Palace House S., by Dramatised (Ire) (Showcasing {GB}) and Wednesday's handicap winner Equilateral (GB) (Equiano {Fr}) in Haydock's G2 Temple S. and when fourth in the Listed Prix du Cercle at Deauville in August.

This time, the pace-favouring flat track at York and the good-to-firm ground presented the ideal scenario for his unflinching style of racing and by the time he had put in second and third-furlong splits of :10.21 and :10.46 he had already dragged most into an outright brawl. From there, it was merely a case of how tired he would finish off but his closing effort was comfortably enough to see it out and give York's revered Ebor Festival one of it's most heartwarming stories in recent times.

“It's a surreal feeling and it hasn't really sunk in yet, it just feels like winning another race at the moment,” the 22-year-old Kirrane said. “The feeling in the last 60 yards when I could hear the cracks of the whips behind me but I knew I wasn't going to get caught was like nothing I've ever felt before. A massive amount of credit goes to the horse, he's really stepped up this year and it's been an incredible journey for all of us.”

“Adam has produced this horse brilliantly in top form today,” he added. “He needed the run out in France last time in a listed race, as he'd had a month off. It brought him forward perfectly. Every time you go out on him you quietly fancy him, as he is so effective over a fast five and York can play into the hands of front runners on this ground. We make lengths out of the gate and ride him aggressively, but he has a turn of foot as well. We try to take them off their feet in the closing stages, but today I was able to keep him on the bridle longer than I ever have as nothing ever came to me at the furlong pole. When I took him off it he found another gear again.”

For West, the outcome represents a major turning point for his 45-strong stable which like so many others of its size is struggling with the financial climate at present. “I never thought anything like this would happen,” he said. “For seven years I've been training and we've had him from a yearling and the journey has been incredible. It's a really tough game at the moment and you look at how things are and you think 'is this a future?' and then you get something like this and it changes everything.

“Epsom is the perfect mix of town and country for me, I can be out with my ferrets in 20 minutes one way and out in town with my owners 20 minutes the other. The owners in that tight-knit community have been fantastic. All this week and the last six months Epsom has been quoted saying it needs a Group 1 winner and they have just had one. The BHA do their best to govern and mind us as trainers, but realistically unless you are on the top, top scale, training is not a viable option. But money is not why any of us do it, we do it because we love the animals and we love the whole sport.”

John Quinn said of the 7-5 favourite Highfield Princess, who put in her customary honest effort, “The winner got away and well done to them,” he said. “She's run a fantastic race and she's a horse of two lifetimes. As long as she's alright we'll go to the Curragh [for the G1 Flying Five], that's the plan.”

Archie Watson said of Bradsell, “Probably the draw has worked against us, because the winner has blazed a trail and stuck on really well and that has probably favoured Highfield Princess in our battle for second. He's run a huge race and I would imagine he'll go to the Flying Five, [that] will be next. The Abbaye would probably be my less-favoured race, I would prefer to go Ireland and then America, but we'll see.”


Pedigree Notes

Live In The Dream's unraced dam Approaching Autumn, who is also responsible for the Listed Scarbrough S. runner-up Live In The Moment (Ire) (Zebedee {GB}), is a daughter of the Listed Pinnacle S.-winning middle-distance performer Autumn Wealth (Ire) (Cadeaux Genereux {GB}). A descendant of the GI E. P. Taylor S. and G2 Sun Chariot S. winner Braiswick (GB) (King Of Spain {GB}), she has an unraced 2-year-old colt by Proconsul (GB), a yearling filly by Elzaam (Aus) who was a €27,000 purchase by Sam Hoskins at the Goffs November Foal Sale, and a filly foal by James Garfield (Ire). Joe Foley's Ballyhane Stud acquired Approaching Autumn for 35,000gns out of the Tattersalls December Mares Sale in 2022.


Friday, York, Britain
COOLMORE WOOTTON BASSETT NUNTHORPE S.-G1, £533,750, York, 8-25, 2yo/up, 5fT, 0:56.87, g/f.
1–LIVE IN THE DREAM (IRE), 139, g, 4, by Prince Of Lir (Ire)
         1st Dam: Approaching Autumn (GB), by New Approach (Ire)
         2nd Dam: Autumn Wealth (Ire), by Cadeaux Genereux (GB)
         3rd Dam: Prickwillow, by Nureyev
(€4,000 Ylg '20 GOFFEB; £24,000 Ylg '20 GOFSPT). O-Steve &
Jolene de'Lemos; B-Lorna Doyle (IRE); T-Adam West; J-Sean
Kirrane. £302,690. Lifetime Record: 18-6-2-2, $538,881. Werk
   Nick Rating: A. Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree,
   or the free catalogue-style pedigree.
2–Highfield Princess (Fr), 136, m, 6, Night Of Thunder (Ire)–
Pure Illusion (Ire), by Danehill. (29,000gns RNA Ylg '18
TATDEY). O/B-Trainers House Enterprises Ltd (FR); T-John
Quinn. £114,756.
3–Bradsell (GB), 137, c, 3, Tasleet (GB)–Russian Punch (GB), by
Archipenko. TDN Rising Star. (12,000gns Ylg '21 TATSOM;
£47,000 2yo '22 GOFTY). O-Victorious Racing; B-Mrs D O'Brien
(GB); T-Archie Watson. £57,432.
Margins: 1, 3/4, HF. Odds: 28.00, 1.40, 4.50.
Also Ran: Makarova (GB), Regional (GB), Equality (GB), Khaadem (Ire), Get Ahead (GB), Nymphadora (GB), Twilight Calls (GB), Queen Me (Ire), Ladies Church (GB), Dramatised (Ire), Big Evs (Ire), Tees Spirit (GB), Aesop's Fables (Ire). VIDEO.


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