Marco Ghiani is confident Mill Stream is capable of providing him with a breakthrough Group One winner in Saturday’s Betfair Sprint Cup at Haydock.
The former champion apprentice has built up a good rapport with Jane Chapple-Hyam’s three-year-old, who has won his last two races at Deauville in impressive style.
While Ghiani has ridden at the highest level before, this weekend undoubtedly provides him with his best chance yet of claiming Group One glory.
“I’m looking forward to this weekend. I’ve ridden in the King’s Stand Stakes and the Coronation Stakes so riding in a Group One is not new, but Mill Stream is around third-favourite, whereas the others were outsiders so it makes things a bit spicier,” he said.
“It is quite a big challenge, but I’m ready to take it. It would be like winning at the Olympic games if I won my first Group One on Saturday.”
Mill Stream’s Deauville victories came at Listed and Group Three level and there is no doubt he will face a much sterner test on Merseyside.
“I thought he could win at Listed and Group race level, but I didn’t expect him to bolt up twice. I thought he would have to work a bit harder than that,” Ghiani continued.
“I think for a sprinter it is harder to get them to race the right way around. Sometimes they are keen, and they don’t finish off their races.
“At home he was a bit keen, but now he is settling down and he seems more relaxed. He is in good order, and he has been much more settled in his last two races in France as he wasn’t over racing in the early stages of those race, which has been key to his last two results.”
Standing in his way is the not insignificant threat of fellow three-year-old Shaquille, already a dual Group One winner having landed the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot and the July Cup at Newmarket.
Ghiani added: “Shaquille is always slow out of the gates, but he finds another gear late at the end. My lad jumps out fast and then he finds another gear at the end so it will be very interesting to see what will happen.
“Obviously Shaquille is a Group One winner, and my horse isn’t yet. If they both find their turn of foot, and my lad is a good way in front, and he stays there, it will be interesting to see what Shaquille can do.
“Shaquille is favourite, but my lad has a good chance. He seems in good order and Jane’s horses are running well. I just have a vision in my head and hopefully that can come to life.”