The John Gosden-trained Lord North claimed today’s feature race at Royal Ascot (Wednesday, 17 June) in the Group One Prince of Wales’s Stakes, under James Doyle, who also enjoyed a double on the day.
The four-year-old Dubawi gelding, who is owned by Sheikh Zayed bin Mohammed Racing, demonstrated an outstanding turn of foot to come home comfortably by 3¾ lengths from Addeybb. The seven-strong field entered the final furlong virtually in a line across the course.
The winning trainer made comparisons between Lord North and Halling, who captured the 1994 Cambridgeshire Handicap, before landing the 1995 and 1996 Group One Coral Eclipse.
“Lord North was gelded after the 2019 spring campaign, he needed to be,” said John. “He was tormenting himself. Testosterone is the most dangerous drug in the world, and he is a lovely horse to be around now.”
James Doyle added: “I think when John takes a horse into a race like this, you do have to prick your ears. Lord North looked quite unexposed coming into it and he has gone through his grades. He won the Brigadier Gerard nicely up at Haydock but looked to get a bit tired, and John said he’d definitely improved a lot for that run. Going into this, the vibes were all pretty confident from the Gosden camp.”
The Queen enjoyed a Royal Ascot victory in the Windsor Castle Stakes with the race favourite Tactical.
It is the first time Her Majesty has missed the Royal meeting in her 68-year reign.
Leading jockey of the week so far Jim Crowley notched up his fourth win this week when delivering Hukum with a perfectly timed challenge to take the 1½ mile King George V Handicap by half a length from 9/2 joint-favourite Kipps.
It was also a fourth win of the week for owner Hamdan Al Maktoum, while it was a first ever Royal Ascot success for trainer Owen Burrows.
“Hukum has always been a horse we have liked,” said Owen. “He does enough at home without blowing you away. He was due to run at Newmarket a couple of weeks ago, but I wasn’t quite happy with him. I just thought we will forget it and I took him to Kempton last week and he worked as well as he had last year.
“As a kid and when I was battling around Fontwell and Plumpton 20 years ago [as a jump jockey], I would never have dreamed I would be here training a Royal Ascot winner for someone like Sheikh Hamdan. All thanks to him for having the trust in me to do the job. I was very fortunate to have had a great grounding at Sir Michael Stoute’s where I was around good horses and you can pick up plenty – I have just been very fortunate.”
Trainer William Knight also saddled his first Royal Ascot winner when Sir Busker was partnered to a three-quarter length success by champion jockey Oisin Murphy in today’s opening race, the Silver Royal Hunt Cup.
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