Love Enthrals The Prince of Wales on Day Two at Royal Ascot
Many will argue that the best day’s racing at Royal Ascot is the first day. They may have a point in that there are three Group 1 races on the first day and only one on each of the following two days. However, this does not mean they are necessarily right, particularly as on the third day, (Thursday) the feature race of the whole meeting, The Gold Cup is run, but certainly today, Love was in the air!
On day two, The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall came to the meeting by car together with Princess Anne. Prince Edward and The Duchess of Wessex also represented the royal family today.
There was the Group 1 feature race – The Prince of Wales Stakes for 4 year olds and up over 1 mile 2 furlongs, and this year saw only six runners going to post. Like the first day, the ground was good to firm and this saw one of the main rivals in the race be withdrawn – John and Thady Gosden’s Lord North. The six remaining runners were headed by the hot favourite Love, dual classic winner last term and handled by Aidan O’Brien, and who was having her first run of the season. Love only ran three times as a 3 year old, winning all three – The 1000 Guineas, The Epsom Oaks and lastly, the Yorkshire Oaks in August 2020. She showed herself to be a really decent filly as she won all her races last year by at least 5 lengths. The second O’Brien runner Armory was also quite fancied as he has won his only outing this season, a Group 2 in Ireland. The other four runners from British stables were less fancied but Audarya was thought to be the best of these for James Fanshawe.
She, like Love was having his first outing this term, but did win The Fillies and Mares Breeders Cup at Keenland in her last outing. A colt by Dubawi under the control of William Haggas – My Oberon won the Earl of Sefton Stakes in April this year, and despite another two outings has been beaten. It is also obvious that the distance in this race would suit My Oberon much better than his previous runs. Neither the other two runners have won this year, the first trained by Sir Michael Stoute, Sangarius and David Simcock’s entry Desert Encounter.
The Prince of Wales Stakes Running
The six runners, like some other races so far this week, set off at a steady pace with none of the six really wanting to go on. Ryan Moore, riding Love took the lead and as a result was able to control the pace. As they turned into the straight, Ryan on Love had already had a very smooth path and was able to let the filly have her head a little more and more and she responded, but she was taken on by Audarya, also having her first run of the season and the two fillies pulled away. It looked as if Audarya would overhaul Love, but Love showed real guts and came back again to take the race by half a length.
The other Aidan O’Brien runners, Armory, who likes to be produced late came with a late run to be third. My Oberon was a little keen in the early stages of the race – not a good idea in the muggy heat – and he came a decent fourth nevertheless. The other two colts came last, although Sangarius did flatter for a short time earlier in the race. Love was Aidan O’Brien’s 75th winner at the Royal Meetings, still a few to go before beating Sir Michael Stoute’s record of 81 wins. It won’t be long before he overhauls that stat!
Other Races of note
Day two also saw three Group 2 races. The first on the card was The Queen Mary Stakes where 22 two year old fillies went to post for the 5 furlong sprint. Wesley Ward from the USA had Twilight Gleaming, and he said of her that it was his best two year old this year. She has had 2 runs in the States and won the second of them in fine style. Another entry from the USA was sent over by George Rusty Arnold II in the form of Artos and she, like her compatriot won her last start. Desert Dreamer, from the Stuart Williams stable was probably the best fancied of the home runners, and has won both her starts. The final one who looked good on paper was yet again another Aidan O’Brien runner Yet, and she also unbeaten, but with only one run. The race set off at breakneck speed, as was expected with the two American trained horses leading the way. However, Twilight Gleaming had what appeared to be faster ground, as did all the runners on the near rail, and she was leading until the last few yards when Quick Suzy, a filly who had no consideration before the off came up on the inside a next to the rail and just held out to take the win ahead of the American raider. Quick Suzy is trained in Co Meath in Ireland by Garry Cromwell and ridden by fellow Irishman Gary Carroll, both earning their first ever Ascot winner. In third was French bred Cheerupsleepyjean, even more surprising for trainer Fozzi Stack and Artos in fourth.
The Queen’s Vase was the second Group 2 of the day with 14 going to post for the extended 1 mile 6 furlong contest. Mark Johnston had Dancing King in the line-up who has had four runs this year so far and won them all. Kyprios was withdrawn at the start as he managed to dive under the stalls before the off. The race set off at a very steady pace with the now 13 runners taking a steady looking canter. Finally, the winner Kenmari, trained by Charlie Appleby for Godolphin and ridden by William Buick spent the whole race just behind the leader and nicely boxed in by a horse on his outside; in the last 2 furlongs, William just had to give the horse a squeeze and he took the race with reasonable ease from the O’Brien runner, Wordsworth with Stowell in third.
The final Group 2 of the day was The Duke of Cambridge Stakes, a race for 4 year olds and up over a mile. There were 12 who went to post for this one. Lady Bowthorpe was strongly fancied for this one, trained by Willie Jarvis. She won the first of her two starts at Newmarket and followed that with a superb second in the Lockinge Stakes behind yesterday’s and the Lockinge winner Palace Pier. Lady Bowthorpe was a bit warm,, but it was a very warm day, kept herself in the forefront the whole way and was looking like she would go on a win in a very tight finish with Sir Michael Stoute’s Queen Power, and then up the rails with plenty of room, Frankie Dettori came with a late run on Indie Angel (trainer John & Thady Gosden) and with electric speed took the honours. She won going away with Frankie taking his 75th win at Royal Ascot – a spectacular achievement in anyone’s book! Lady Bowthorpe stayed on to come second and Queen Power was third. Chris Richardson, the long-time manager of the filly’s owners, Cheveley Park Stud, said afterwards “that this was a bit of surprise as she can be a madam with her mind of her own, but today everything came right for her and she obviously decided to perform”.
A footnote must be made as one of the major UK handicaps is run at the Royal Meeting, and indeed a race in which we were fourth out of 30 runners in 1994 with Cru Exceptionel, so is one close to our hearts. This year, again a full 30 runner field took to the straight mile for the annual cavalry charge. The winner was Real World who routed the rest of the field running more or less on his own on the far side of the course. It was the first Ascot win for apprentice Italian jockey Marco Ghiani who was allowed to use his 3 pound weight allowance for trainer Saeed Bin Suroor for the Godolphin. In second was Astro King the 5 to 1 favourite and third was Grove Ferry and Ouzo fourth.