“I can die a happy man” was the response of trainer Noel Meade as Helvic Dream (8/1) gave him a first Group 1 victory on the flat as he defeated his great rival Broome in the €300,000 Tattersalls Gold Cup at The Curragh.
First run in 1962 when it was originally named the Ballymoss Stakes in honour of Ballymoss, a successful Irish horse of the late 1950s, the now Tattersalls Gold Cup is run over a distance of a mile 2 furlongs and 110 yards and is open to four year olds and upwards.
The Aidan O’Brien-trained favourite Broome (10/11f) had already got the better of Helvic Dream on three occasions over 1 mile 2 furlongs this season.
The pair initially clashed in the Listed Plusvital Devoy Stakes at Naas on 28 March, where Helvic Dream had finished eight. He was then fourth behind Broome in the Group 3 Holden Plant Rentals Alleged Stakes at The Curragh. At the beginning of May, Broome had two lengths in hand over Helvic Dream in the Group 2 Coolmore Scottsass Irish EBF Mooresbridge Stakes also at The Curragh.
This time around, in the Group 1 Tattersalls Gold Cup, a great head-to-head duel ensued between the great rivals, as Helvic Dream pushed Broome every step of the way, before the former turned the tables on the 2019 Epsom Derby fourth-placer, getting in front when it mattered by a short head.
Dual Australian Group 3 Queen Elizabeth Stakes winner True Self (under jockey Hollie Doyle), trained by Ireland’s champion jumps trainer Willie Mullins, finished a fast closing third, a further length behind the runner-up Broome.
The first three finished an impressive eight lengths clear of the reminder of the field which included, among others, the dual Group 1 Irish St Leger winner Search For A Song (2019, 2020), 2020 Group 1 Investec Derby winner Serpentine and 2020 Group 1 Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby and Group 1 Melbourne Cup runner-up Tiger Moth.
“I’m thrilled. I’ve been second in the Guineas twice and placed in Classics and Group 1s, fourth in the Epsom Derby, but that’s the first Group 1 winner. It means a lot,” admitted Meade, an eight-time Irish champion jumps handler.
“He’s been a pleasure to train and doesn’t take a lot of work. There have been plenty of people interesting in buying him but thankfully the owners have kept faith in me as I felt he could win a Group 1. I said to them at the end of last year that maybe we could have a chance of going abroad, there’s plenty of places we could go with him.
“Tom Hendron [joint-owner] sent me up a list of the four races he’s run in this season. We said we’d go there and hope the ground would come right for us. You’d never think you were going to get soft ground on a day like today.”
Helvic Dream was bought for €12,000 by Peter Nolan Bloodstock at the 2018 Tattersalls Ireland September Yearling Sale, and is one of two winners out of the Danehill mare Rachevie, the other being the Camelot filly Flirting Bridge a third placed finisher in the Group 3 Irish 1,000 Guineas Trial over 7 furlongs in early May.
Helvic Dream provided his Oaklands Stud, Queensland, Australia-based sire Power with a first Group 1 success. The four-year-old gelding has an overall race record of four wins and seven placings from 15 starts and is the best of 20 stakes-winners sired by Power, a former winner of both the Goffs Vincent O’Brien National Stakes in his juvenile season and the Tattersalls Irish 2000 Guineas as a three-year-old
Speaking about pre-race plans to finally defeat Broome, Noel Meade explained:
“Colin (Keane) said he was going to sit a bit closer and have one go at Broome. He felt he went too soon for Helvic Dream the last day and he felt he did again today. He has an electrifying turn of speed but lasted it out. It was a brilliant ride.”
Dual Irish champion flat jockey Keane further explained the plan, stating:
“I thought I’d try to have a crack at him late as the second horse can be very idle and he was coming back at us towards the line. Noel is a real good supporter of mine and I’m glad to pay him back with this.”
The Tattersalls Gold Cup is a race steeped in history having being won by such luminaries as Montjeu (2000), Fantastic Light (2001), So You Think (2011, 2012) and Magical (2019, 2020), to name but a few.
Photo: Helvic Dream and Noel Meade, (The Curragh Racecourse Twitter account @curraghrace)