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Lord North produces stunning display to win Prince Of Wales's Stakes

Wed 17 Jun 2020
Lord North is too good for his rivals at Royal Ascot (Focusonracing)
Lord North is too good for his rivals at Royal Ascot (Focusonracing)

Lord North produced a devastating turn of foot to run out a convincing winner of the Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot.

Stepping up to Group One company for the first time, last year’s Cambridgeshire winner bridged the gap in some style.

John Gosden’s charge had looked good when winning the Group Three Brigadier Gerard Stakes at Haydock earlier this month – but this was even better as he destroyed a quality field.

Bangkok made the running with Addeybb and Japan close up, while James Doyle was happy to sit Lord North (5-1) at the rear of the seven runners.

At one point in the straight, all seven had a chance but Lord North put the race to bed with a taking burst of acceleration in the final furlong.

Galloping on strongly, he had three and three-quarter lengths in hand over Addeybb. Barney Roy was third, with short-priced favourite Japan having to settle for fourth.

Gosden said: "Rab Havlin was going to ride this horse (with Frankie Dettori riding Mehdaayih), but James is retained by Godolphin Darley and consequently he rode him.

"It does bring back memories of Halling (who also won the Cambridgeshire before progressing to Group Ones). This is a very progressive horse.

"They went a very strong gallop today - there was no hiding place. They didn't stop for a breather - they kept going the whole way.

"The favourite missed the break, which muddled the race for him, but this is a proper horse. He sat out the back and won with great authority - he could have waited even longer.

"He has got that turn of foot, but he is quickening and those in front were tiring a bit. This mile and a quarter takes some getting from Swinley Bottom, it rises many feet."

 John Gosden and James Doyle after Lord North's victory (Pic: Focusonracing)
John Gosden and James Doyle after Lord North's victory (Pic: Focusonracing)

Lord North will not go on to enjoy a lucrative career at stud, having been gelded in the middle of last season.

Gosden added: "That decision was taken out my hands. Testosterone is the most dangerous drug in the world and it was certainly driving him completely mad!

"Since he's been gelded he's a very content, still very playful horse, but he's not crazy like he used to be.

"We've always thought he was a very classy horse. It's taken a long time to get it out of him, but that has always been more to do with the mind than anything else."

Asked whether he could take on his esteemed stablemate Enable in the Coral-Eclipse at Sandown on July 5, Gosden said: "He's had two pretty quick races. Let's just freshen him up and see how we are over the next 10 days and then we'll make decisions.

"He might get a mile and a half at Keeneland (in the Breeders' Cup Turf, with this being a 'win and you're in race'). I just hope it doesn't rain too much as that track turns into a bit of a sandpit when it does."

Doyle said: "I think when John 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 settled beautifully out the back and 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."

FORMER CLASSIC HOPE DARK VISION COMES GOOD IN ROYAL HUNT CUP

One-time Classic hope Dark Vision won for the first time in nearly two years when claiming the Royal Hunt Cup at Royal Ascot.

The Mark Johnston-trained colt was bought by Godolphin after lifting the Group Two Vintage Stakes at Glorious Goodwood in July 2018 but had been beaten in all his 13 subsequent races, including the 2000 Guineas last year.

Ridden by William Buick, Dark Vision (15-2) finally got his act back together as he came with a strong late run to win one of the most competitive one-mile handicaps in the calendar.

Montatham (8-1) was beaten length and a half in second, with Pogo (25-1) another half a length away in third and the winner’s stablemate Vale Of Kent (22-1) fourth.

Johnston said: "He's been nothing but a frustration since he changed hands, so I feel great for Sheikh Mohammed, who bought the horse as a two-year-old and has had nothing but disappointments until today.

"It's a drop in class to a handicap, but it's the best of handicaps and he's done it well. He's been working brilliantly at home, so we're not surprised. He's a Group Two winner already - whether we go back into Group company, we'll let the handicapper decide.

"It's very different this year. There's no great atmosphere and I've been wondering about the logic of having so many runners when the prize-money is so low and the racing is still competitive, but it's still great to get one on the board.

"It was great to say we had a winner when Royal Ascot was at York and it's great to say we had a winner when Royal Ascot was behind closed doors."

Buick said: "He was bought by the connections to be a good horse and now he has rewarded them with a Royal Ascot win, which is always nice.

"He travelled through the race beautifully today. I was always happy where I was in the race really - tracking the right horses.

"It was all about getting the split at the right time and once we got the split, he quickened up very well.

"Today we got a glimpse of what we saw from him as a two-year-old. From his Newcastle run we saw that he was nearly back to his best and today I think we did see the true horse."

On racing behind closed doors, he added: "It's not ideal at all, but it's fantastic that we're racing and it's great racing, as Royal Ascot always is.

"It's very well organised from all the parties responsible. We've got the show on the road, which under the circumstances is great.

"But of course, we can't wait for normality to come back and the crowds to come back."

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