Live In The Dream delivers life-changing victory in Nunthorpe Stakes for trainer Adam West by claiming £300,000 first prize and trip to the Breeders Cup
- Live In The Dream claimed a shock win in the Nunthorpe Stakes at York on Friday
- It was first time his trainer, Adam West, had saddled a runner in Group One race
- Also the first experience in Championship-level contest for jockey Sean Kirrane
This is was what it is all about. In the winner’s enclosure, as stories were told about ferrets and flash shoes, a father’s love and a trainer’s belief, a strapping chestnut flying machine called Live In The Dream was parading as proud as punch — never has a horse been more appropriately named.
The Nunthorpe Stakes is the fastest Flat race of the year, five furlongs which pass in the blink of an eye, and Live In The Dream was lightning quick throughout. He bounced out the stalls, hit 44mph and never allowed another of his 15 rivals to pass.
Immediately behind were last year’s winner, the 7-5 favourite Highfield Princess, and Royal Ascot winner Bradsell but neither of them could lay a glove on Live In The Dream, who covered the distance in 56 seconds and belied odds of 28-1.
What made this so remarkable is that it was the first time the gelding’s trainer, Adam West, had saddled a runner in a Group One race. His young jockey, Sean Kirrane, was also having his first experience in a Championship-level contest.
West is 34. He has been a trainer for seven years and, with a string of 46 horses, is operating at the end of the sport where financial challenges come daily. ‘It’s not viable,’ said West. ‘But that’s not why we do it. We do it because we love the animals. We are under serious strain.’
Live In The Dream claimed a shock win in the Nunthorpe Stakes at York on Friday
It was first Group One victory for trainer Adam West (far right) and jockey Sean Kirrane (centre)
So this £302,689.62 was life-changing. First prize also guaranteed a trip to the Breeders’ Cup in November — West had been hoping to aim Live In The Dream at that multi-million dollar meeting but knew, realistically, he was never going to be able to afford the entry fee.
‘Epsom is the perfect mix of town and country,’ said West, of his historic base. ‘I can be out in the country with my ferrets in 20 minutes going one way and out in town, with the owners, in 20 minutes going the other way. Yes, I own a couple of ferrets!
‘They have been saying in the last six months, “Epsom, they just need a Group One winner…” Well, we’ve just had one! This changes everything. I can’t believe this. I really can’t.’
He was not alone. Kirrane, 23, who grew up a 10-minute walk from Leopardstown racecourse, had the look of a boy who had just received a winning lottery ticket — this time last week, he was still riding with an apprentice’s three-pound allowance.
Then there were the owners, Steve and Jolene de’Lemos. Steve was wearing a pair of Louboutin loafers he had bought in Las Vegas recently; he roared with laughter as he generously described their colour as ‘pastel’ but acknowledged they must go everywhere for luck. Steve — whose job is ‘very boring, in insurance’ — then took out his phone. He wanted to show a picture of his 18-year-old son, Rhys, who is autistic.
The message had been sent on Thursday and said: ‘I look like Aidan O’Brien!’ As he relayed this, emotion took hold. ‘We’ve got another horse called Live A Little Crazy,’ he said. ‘And that’s what we’re going to do.’
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