Dream Ahead bounced back to form in a pulsating finish to the Betfred Sprint Cup at Haydock.

The 4-1 favourite was on something of a recovery mission following a lifeless display at France on his latest appearance, but looked much more like the horse that was so impressive in the July Cup.

David Simcock's star turn, ridden by William Buick, cruised into the lead heading inside the final furlong and although he was hanging as the line approached, the three-year-old managed to get the better of Bated Breath by a nose, with Hoof It was another head away in third.

A stewards' inquiry was called due to possible interference between Dream Ahead and Hoof It but the placings remained unaltered.

Dream Ahead was so impressive on his penultimate start at Newmarket, it looked as though he could go on and dominate the sprint division.

But he was a huge disappointment at Deauville, with Simcock unable to offer any real explanation. He looked much happier throughout this six-furlong journey and when he swept into the lead, it seemed Buick's companion would win readily.

But he hung to his left, and then to his right, in the last furlong, giving Bated Breath and the giant Hoof It another bite at the cherry.

Hoof It went for a gap between horses but after that shut, he was forced to go to the far side of the track.

Bated Breath, trained by Roger Charlton, stuck with Dream Ahead right to the line, but a photo-finish revealed the latter had just got home.

Buick said: "He's got a big head, and that helps in a finish like that.

"It's a very good training performance to get him back from his disappointment last time."

Winning trainer David Simcock said: "It's a massive relief as after France we were scratching our heads. We thought we had him great in France and we thought we had him great today.

"We rode him far more positively and he battled well and did everything well.

"It's great for the horse to enhance his reputation and I probably won't see another horse like him. It's very special and this means as much as the July Cup, as we're bouncing back."

"There's only two options open to him now. We could either go to France for the Prix de la Foret, or run at Ascot (Qipco British Champions Sprint Stakes).

"People might ask why I'd want to go back to seven furlongs (in France), but, on the other hand, why drop back to a Group Two at Ascot?

"I hope he stays in training next year and if that's the case, I don't think he would go for the Breeders' Cup this season.

"Obviously there will be discussions between his owners and myself."