Ascot, England // Princess Haya secured her first Royal Ascot victory yesterday when Beachfire won the Wolfreton Handicap under a cool ride from William Buick.
It was a celebration for the Al Maktoum family as Beachfire outstayed Lost In The Moment, owned by Godolphin, to win by two and three-quarter lengths.
Horses belonging to Princess Haya, wife of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, have won Group 1 races all over the world.
She owned Debussy when he won the Arlington Million last season, as well as Raven’s Pass and Donativum, who both won at the Breeders’ Cup in 2008. She also won the Epsom Derby that year with New Approach.
“William is a great jockey,” Princess Haya said. “He picked the horse up well and I’m thrilled. It is a real honour to win here.”
John Gosden, the trainer who was responsible for the wins of Debussy, Raven’s Pass and Donativum, was quick to point out the family situation involved with the result.
“In this case the wife has just beaten the husband, and the husband is delighted. It means we are not all in big trouble,” he said with a smile.
Beachfire swept to victory having been held back by Buick for a late surge that overwhelmed tiring horses on the rain-softened ground. The use of head gear was the crucial factor in the success of the four-year-old son of Indian Haven.
“He used to drop himself out of the race and when you are running against inferior horses you can get up by a head, but not against superior stock at Royal Ascot,” Gosden said. “We popped the head gear on and he cut through them like a knife through butter.”
It was Buick’s second victory of the day, having partnered Nathaniel to an impressive victory in the King Edward VII Stakes.
“It is fantastic to ride a Royal Ascot winner for Princess Haya,” said Buick, 23.
“Beachfire likes this ground and he showed today how good he was.
“They were all coming back to him so quickly so it was like dodging bullets. It is fantastic to have won two in a row. It is so hard to win races here at all.”
Barely 40 minutes later, Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed followed Princess Haya into the winners’ enclosure when Namibian won the Queen’s Vase.
But there was no victory for Maqaasid, owned by Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid, as she was withdrawn form the Coronation Stakes, won by Immortal Verse.