Perfect Power Edges Go Bears Go in Norfolk Stakes at Royal Ascot and Gains Automatic Berth into Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint
Photo courtesy of Megan Ridgewell
ASCOT, BERKSHIRE, ENGLAND (June 17, 2021) — A photo-finish image was required to settle the outcome of the Norfolk Stakes (G2) between two horses spread either side of the wide Ascot straight before Sheikh Rashid Dalmook Al Maktoum’s Perfect Power (IRE) was awarded the victory. Perfect Power’s win over Go Bears Go (IRE) earned him an automatic starting position in the US$1million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint (G2) through the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series.
The Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series is an international series of 84 stakes races whose winners receive automatic starting positions and fees paid into a corresponding race of the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, which will be held at Del Mar racetrack in Del Mar, California on Nov. 5-6.
As part of the benefits of the Challenge Series, Breeders’ Cup will pay the entry fees for Perfect Power to start in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint, which will be run at 5 furlongs at Del Mar. Breeders’ Cup will also provide a travel allowance of US$40,000 for all starters based outside of North America to compete in the World Championships.
Perfect Power, a bay son of Ardad (IRE) out of the Frozen Power (IRE) mare Sagely (IRE), trained by Richard Fahey, had only won his first race eight days earlier at Hamilton, Scotland, but he was well equipped to cope with a frenetic edition of the 5-furlong sprint run on ground listed as good to firm.
With the field dividing into two groups racing on both sides of the straight, the Wesley Ward-trained Lucci made a gallant bid to make all the running up the stand’s side. He held his own until the half-furlong pole where Perfect Power and Project Dante (GB) swept either side of him to fight out the finish with Go Bears Go (IRE), first home on the far side.
Perfect Power, ridden by Paul Hanagan, won by a head over Go Bears Go in 1:00.44. Project Dante finished a nose back in third. Cadamosto (IRE), the 5-1 favorite, finished fourth, with Lucci three-quarters of a length back in fifth.
“I must have asked about 10 jockeys pulling up ‘Who won?’,” said Hanagan, riding his first Royal Ascot winner since 2015. “I wasn’t quite sure because the other horse was so far away on the other side. I think the way I finished the race, I had every chance because he really powered home.
“I thought we had a chance because he has such a good temperament and he takes it all in, which you really need at Ascot. There were a few down there getting very warm and agitated. He is very laid back.”
Hanagan, 40, champion jockey in Britain in 2010 and 2011, has ridden over 2,000 winners. He broke his back in three places in a fall at Newcastle in February 2020, which threatened to end his career.
As the late Hamdan Al Maktoum’s retained jockey, he won the Oaks (G1) and King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes (G1) in 2014 on Taghrooda (GB), and the Commonwealth Cup (G1) and July Cup (G1) on Muhaarar (GB) in 2014, but after what he had been through last year, Hanagan said the win for long-time supporter Fahey felt better.
“I don’t usually get emotional, but I am probably lucky to be here at all after the accident,” the jockey said. “It’s an amazing feeling to even get back here, never mind riding a winner at Royal Ascot.
“It was only through the rehab and the genuine kindness of people that I got back. You appreciate it when you get a second chance. The cheer of the crowd when I found out I’d won was something special.”
“We were very sweet on the horse,” said Fahey. “He came out of Tally Ho Stud at the breeze-ups. He was a little bit unlucky first time. He missed the kick and did everything wrong, which was probably to our advantage because we got another run into him. We were quietly confident he would run a big race.
“This is a special moment for everybody. This has been a bit of a bogey race for me. I’ve come second three times at least and when they flashed past, I thought he’d got beat. It was a bit emotional for about two seconds.”
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 2021 Breeders’ Cup World Championships, consisting of 14 Championship races, is scheduled to be held on November 5-6 at Del Mar racetrack in Del Mar, California. 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.
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