Lord North dazzles in Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot
Godolphin-bred son of Dubawi stuns a top-class field on Wednesday
The Godolphin-bred Lord North, in the silks of Sheikh Zayed bin Mohammed, stunned a top-class field en route to winning the Group 1 Prince of Wales’s Stakes on Day 2 of the Royal Ascot meeting.
The four-year-old gelded son of Dubawi demolished a field that included dual Group 1 winners Addeyb in the colours of Sheikh Ahmed bin Rashid, Godolphin’s Barney Roy and Aidan O’Brien’s Japan, in that order.
Having spent much of his two and three year old campaigns in handicap company, Lord North rounded off the 2019 season with a Listed prize at Newmarket.
He made a winning reappearance in the Group 3 Brigadier Gerard Stakes earlier in the month before landing his biggest career prize at the royal meeting over the 10-furlong trip on Wednesday.
Trained by John Gosden and with James Doyle atop, Lord North produced a scintillating run on the final furlong to win from Addeyb and Barney Roy, who pipped Japan on the line, by three and three-quarter lengths and one and-a-quarter length, respectively.
“He settled beautifully out at the back,” Doyle said. “We saved plenty of ground and quickened up like a really nice horse. He travelled into it great and showed a good turn of foot.
“I think when John [Gosden] takes a horse into a race like this you do have to prick your ears, and he was quite unexposed.
“He’s gone through the grades. He won the Brigadier Gerard at Haydock but looked to get a bit tired, and John said he’d definitely improve a lot for that run. I thought going into it, the vibes were all pretty confident from Mr Gosden’s camp.
“I guess it played into my hands the way the race panned out, but I felt it was a pretty evenly-run race. He showed a good turn of pace when I asked him, so it certainly wasn’t a fluke.
“I think he can continue now and be a pretty strong force in these type of races. A mile and a quarter is perfect for him.”
Godolphin celebrated their first winner in the Royal meeting when William Buick guided the Mark Johnston-trained Dark Vision in the 23-runner Royal Hunt Cup 35 minutes later.
Hukum had earlier provided Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid a fourth winner of the meeting.
Jim Crowley, the owner’s retained jockey who rode a treble for three different trainers on Day-1, provided Owen Burrows his first royal winner in the King George V Stakes.
Fujaira Prince rounded off the meeting by claiming the Copper Horse Handicap in the silks of Dubai’s Sheikh Mohammed bin Obaid for the Emirati owners to take home four of the seven prizes that was on offer on day two of the meeting.
The feature race on day three of the meeting is the Group 1 Gold Cup in which Godolphin is double-handed with the 2018 Melbourne Cup winner Cross Counter and Moonlight Spirit.
Charlie Appleby trains both and the four year old stayer Moonlight Spirit is Buick’s choice.
“Cross Counter has already had an unusual season,” Appleby said. “We prepared him for the Dubai Gold Cup in March, only for the meeting to be called off because of the pandemic.”
Cross Counter was fifth in a handicap in the inaugural Saudi Cup meeting in Riyadh in February and his handler said he hasn’t had a race since.
“Last year, he had also only had one race before Ascot and he was able to run a very respectable fourth to (the re-opposing) Stradivarius and wasn’t beaten too far,” Appleby added.
“Moonlight Spirit as a prospective Cup horse. He has wintered well and is ready to go. It is challenge going straight into a Gold Cup, but having said that, he will not be out of place, and I think will run very well.”
Updated: June 17, 2020 09:39 PM