NUNTHORPE STAKES

THE TIMES

26th August 2023

The name fits. Live In The Dream trapped like a startled hare and the straining greyhounds never had the legs to catch her. The Nunthorpe Stakes had gone to the white-faced chestnut who started at 25-1 and “the dream come true applied” right across his connections.

None of them had ever been in a Group One event before. 23 year old Sean Kirrane’s first ride today is in an apprentice race at Redcar. 34 year old Epsom trainer Adam West has had just 8 winners this season but had kept the faith. So too had Epsom reared Steve de’Lemos whose infectious enthusiasm was as dazzling as his snappy suit, bare ankles and fluorescent Louboutin loafers which are yours for 1,000 dollars

But the first tribute goes to the little four hooved rocket whose first twenty strides put three full lengths between him and the always fast starting favourite Highfield Princess. Not even Dayjur can have run the first three of these York furlongs as fast as he did. The dial went round to 44 mph, the second furlong came through in 10.22 seconds, the third in 10.45, the fourth in 10.92. Live In The Dream tied up a little but not much. Highfield Princess got to a length at the line, her Ascot conqueror Bradseil three quarters of a length further away.

So no fluke in the form and in truth Live In The Dream has always threatened to figure at the top table if everything could click. It did here, and it to his and his rider’s credit that at full stretch against the best sprinters in the land they always had the fire power to repel them.

Reed-thin Kirrane, riding his 23rd winner of the season, looked anything but a rookie and is the subject of glowing reports from the Tim Easterby stable. The rather rounder figured West is hands on enough to drive his own horse box and at one stage slept in the office to free a room for staff and even in smiling elation added, “nine days out of ten, training is the best job in the world.” Friday was one of the tenth, he lost a favourite horse at Stratford.

The ebullient owner was also serious beneath the smiles. “Four years ago my mum and dad and nan all died”, said Steve de’Lemos “We were all very down, so I bought a horse and my wife said we must call it it ‘Live In The Moment’ He won five races in lockdown so we went in again and called this fellow ‘Live In The Dream’.”

The 54 year old insurance broker was on a high, happy family and friends around him but he misted up behind the dark glasses. “We have an autistic son and he loves going to the stables and everything about this game,” said de’Lemos “Last night he put on a pair of dark glasses and said ‘look, I am Aidan O’Brien’. Racing is a great sport and outlet for people with special needs”

The Nunthorpe winner’s time of 56.87 seconds didn’t even stretch to Kipling’s “sixty seconds of distance run” but this team will now aim for the Breeders Cup at Santa Anita. Be it triumph nor disaster. The dream lives on.

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