Lord North Wins Prince of Wales's Stakes at Royal Ascot and Earns Automatic Berth into Longines Breeders' Cup Turf
Photo courtesy of Ascot Racecourse
ASCOT, BERKSHIRE, ENGLAND (June 17, 2020) -– Sheikh Zayed bin Mohammed Racing’s 4-year-old Lord North (IRE) produced a devastating finishing kick, coming from last to first, to clinch the $317,000 Prince of Wales’s Stakes (G1) on Wednesday at Royal Ascot and secured an automatic berth into the Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1) through the international Breeders’ Cup Challenge.
The Breeders’ Cup Challenge is an international series of stakes races whose winners receive automatic starting positions and fees paid into a corresponding race of the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, which is scheduled to be held at Keeneland Race Course in Lexington, Kentucky, on Nov. 6-7.
As part of the benefits of the Challenge Series, Breeders’ Cup will pay the entry fees for Lord North to start in the Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf, which will be run at 1 ½ miles over the Keeneland turf course. Breeders’ Cup also will provide a travel allowance of US$40,000 for all starters based outside of North America to compete in the World Championships.
Godolphin-bred Lord North, making his Group 1 debut, was the lowest-rated runner in the seven-horse field. One of two John Gosden-trained starters, Lord North was given up by stable jockey Frankie Dettori in favor of the filly Mehdaayih (GB).
Displaying great potential last year when he won the ultra-competitive Cambridgeshire Handicap at Newmarket, Lord North took another step forward when he captured the Brigadier Gerard Stakes (G3) at Haydock 10 days prior to the Prince of Wales’s. There was even more to come.
Outsider Bangkok (IRE) set a searching gallop, leading the way until a furlong out and though Addeybb (IRE) and Japan (GB), the 6-4 favorite who had to be pushed into contention after being slow out of the stalls, threw down challenges, they were no match for Lord North. A bay gelding by Dubawi (IRE), Lord North responded impressively for jockey James Doyle and drew away for a 3 3/4-length victory. Addeybb kept on for second with Barney Roy (GB) taking third, ahead of Japan.
They were followed in order by Bangkok, Mehdaayih and Headman (GB).
Lord North, the 5-1 third choice, completed the 1 ¼ miles in 2:05.63 over a course listed as good. The first three finishers were geldings.
Doyle, winning the race for the third time following successes on Poet’s Word (IRE) (2018) and Al Kazeem (GB) (2013), said: “We planned to take a nice tow into the race. As the gates opened the whole complexion of the race changed. Japan missed the break and Bangkok went forward and it ended up being a true-run race which suited us perfectly.
“He settled beautifully on the rail, we saved plenty of ground, popped out in the straight and he quickened up like a really nice horse. It certainly wasn’t a fluke and I think he can continue now and be quite a strong horse in these races. He feels like a solid mile and a quarter horse.
“Although I hadn’t ridden him in the past I was quite well armed going into it. Frankie (Dettori) gave me some great advice and Robert Havlin, who has ridden him quite a bit, was very helpful. I had all the right people telling me the right things. He was a real joy to ride.”
“He is a very progressive horse,” Gosden said. “They went a strong gallop. Bangkok was given his head and they went strong. There were no hiding places and they didn’t stop and have a breather, they kept going the whole way.
“The favorite (Japan) missed the break which muddled the race for him but this is a proper horse. He sat out the back and he won with great authority. He could have waited even longer.
“He was quickening and they were probably beginning to flatten out having gone that ferocious pace. This mile and a quarter takes some getting from Swinley Bottom. It rises many feet.”
Lord North was being compared to Halling (USA), a Cambridgeshire winner in 1994 trained by Gosden, who went on to win the Coral-Eclipse Stakes (G1) and Juddmonte International (G1) twice as part of Saeed bin Suroor’s Godolphin team.
Lord North, who improved his record to six wins in nine starts, joins Nao Da Mais (BRZ), winner of the Gran Premio International Carlos Pellegrini (G1) in Argentina, as the first two horses to earn “Win and You’re In” starting positions for the Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf this year.
Gosden was reluctant to immediately commit the winner on a similar path to the Coral-Eclipse Stakes (G1) on July 5, where Enable (GB), the 2018 Breeders’ Cup Turf winner, is set to begin her season.
“He’s had two quick races,” said the trainer. “Mehdaayih, who Frankie rode, just tired in the last furlong and needed the race. Let’s just freshen him up, see how we are over the next 10 days and make decisions.
“Frankie has always liked Mehdaayih and Rab Havlin was going to ride this horse but James is a retained jockey with Godolphin/Darley so James rode him. Frankie is very happy, I promise you he was thrilled with this filly and this fellow got the job done.”
“We have always thought of him as a very classy horse but it’s taken a long time to get it out of him. That’s been more to do with the mind than anything.”
Addeybb would have preferred softer ground, conditions having been changed from good to soft in places after race three.
Trainer William Haggas said: "I am not saying if the race had been run on softer ground [he would have won], but he is better on softer ground. He always tries his heart out and has run a solid race again.
"If I keep running him on good ground, he will not keep going and doing that [running well]. We just need the heavens to open. That slows the quicker ones down and he is more effective on soft ground -- he has run a great race."
Trainer Charlie Appleby said of the third Barney Roy: "Barney Roy has run another solid race and, if you take the winner out, there is not much between the rest of them.
"He saw the trip out well - I don't think that we will be going any further than a mile and a quarter -- and it would be nice if we stick to our long-term program with him, which was to take him out to Australia. We will see where we are come the autumn and if we can travel with him."
ABOUT BREEDERS’ CUP
The Breeders’ Cup administers the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, Thoroughbred horse racing’s year-end Championships, as well as the Breeders’ Cup Challenge qualifying series, which provides automatic starting positions into the Championships races. The Breeders’ Cup is also a founding member of the Thoroughbred Safety Coalition, an organization composed of industry leaders committed to advancing safety measures in Thoroughbred racing and improving the well-being of equine and human athletes.
The 2020 Breeders’ Cup World Championships, consisting of 14 Championship races, is scheduled to be held on November 6-7 at Keeneland Race Course in Lexington, Kentucky and features a total of $35 million in purses and awards. The event will be televised live by the NBC Sports Group. Breeders’ Cup press releases appear on the Breeders’ Cup website, breederscup.com. You can also follow the Breeders’ Cup on social media platforms Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.
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