Cricket legend Sir Ian Botham will be among those hoping Dan’s Dream can smash her rivals for six in Sunday’s QIPCO 1000 Guineas and earn a £300,000 payout for charity by taking the Classic.
This weekend marks the beginning of the main section of the British Flat season as the eyes of racing turn to Newmarket for the 2000 and 1000 Guineas, contests that can often set the tone for the remainder of the year by giving potential champions their stiffest test yet against the other smartest performers around.
In all likelihood, it will be one of the major breeding operations who is celebrating after the 2000 Guineas on Saturday, with horses owned by the Coolmore team, Godolphin and Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum dominating the head of the betting.
But on Sunday, there is growing hope that Dan’s Dream can deliver for a syndicate of owners put together on the understanding that all prize money the Mick Channon‐trained filly claims this season will go to the Nicholls Spinal Injury Foundation.
— Racing UK (@Racing_UK) April 30, 2018
The filly is named after Dan Nicholls, who broke his neck aged 18 while swimming off Bondi Beach in Australia, but who hopes he may still be able to walk again and whose father, David, has supported the charity, which is committed to funding research and development into curing spinal cord injuries that affect millions of people around the world.
Dan’s Dream is owned on a lease by businessmen Fred Watt and Simon Peckham after their bid was successful at an NSIF auction during a sporting charity dinner, in partnership with two supporters of the charity, sporting legends Sir Ian Botham and Sir Gareth Edwards.
The latter pair became involved in the filly with the help of Andy Lloyd, the former Warwickshire and England cricketer who is the manager of Hunscote Stud, owned by Steven Smith. Smith himself became involved in the work of the charity after breaking his duck when escaping from armed robbers seven years ago. Last year, he completed the London Marathon with a stick.
Lloyd said: “Ian [Botham] sadly won’t be able to make it on Sunday as he is hosting people on his annual fishing trip on the River Spey, but Gareth [Edwards] is hoping to be able to swing it so that he can get there.
“In many ways the stud has already hit the jackpot as Dan’s Dream is a Group Three winner so the Nicholls Spinal Injury Foundation is the main thing for Sunday – that’s where we want to see the profile going. If we could lob £300,000 into their pot it would be wonderful.
“When Steven [Smith] put her up as an auction prize, we never in our wildest dreams thought that she would be a Guineas filly but it’s fantastic that it’s turned out that way.”
Welsh Rugby Union ace Edwards already knew Dan’s Dream’s trainer Channon from days of old.
He told the Racing Post: “I’ve only had a passing interest in racing but when Andy gave me a shout it sounded good and for a good cause, so I thought I would support it from a charity point of view.
“I’ve known Mick for a long time, going back to when he played football and we would meet up for A Question Of Sport. We were absolutely delighted to see how well Dan’s Dream ran in her first couple of races. I would love to see her run.”
Having taken one of the leading trials for the 1000 Guineas, the Dubai Duty Free Stakes at Newbury, Dan’s Dream’s involvement in the race is understandably exciting Channon, who has trained a number of Group One winners and landed an Irish Guineas, but is yet to win a British Classic. “She always worked like a very nice filly at home, as good as the very best ones I’ve had, but she kept getting niggly problems, which was frustrating,” said Channon.
“But we managed to get her back for a little race at Bath in March, which she won, so we thought it was worth having a go at the Newbury race.
“She’s done very well since winning at Newbury and she goes on any ground. I know that it was on the soft side when she won her Group Three but fast ground wouldn’t bother her either.
“I would imagine that a massive prize like this would make a real difference to the charity – let’s hope that we can win them a few quid on Sunday.”
Dan’s Dream fuels hope of Guineas glory and charity windfall. Read a special report by @louchepunter on the horse making a positive impact on thousands of people living with spinal injuries. @BeefyBotham @GaryLineker @Mick_Channon_TV https://t.co/5ia3jAwEid pic.twitter.com/L6Ws3c74L3
— Racing UK (@Racing_UK) April 22, 2018