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Parent’s Prayer records smooth Princess Elizabeth victory

Sat 5 Jun 2021

Parent’s Prayer led her rivals a merry dance in the Cazoo-sponsored Princess Elizabeth Stakes at Epsom.

A dual winner during her debut season as a three-year-old last term, Archie Watson’s filly had run two sound races in defeat so far this year – finishing second in the Park Express Stakes in Ireland and fourth in the Chartwell Fillies’ Stakes at Lingfield.

Ridden by champion jockey Oisin Murphy for the first time, the daughter of Kingman was sent straight to the lead and appeared to have matters under control throughout.

If anything the 4-1 winner extended her lead racing inside the final two furlongs and passed the post with just over two lengths in hand over Nazuna, with 7-4 favourite Statement only third.

Murphy said: ““She was an ultimate professional, I’m thrilled for her owner, Prince Abdullah bin Mutaib Al Saud. He’s in Saudi Arabia and he jumped in the Olympics in 2012, so he knows lots about horses and I’m thrilled he has a good racehorse.

“She’s a beautiful mover, daughter of Kingman and she was always going to be a Group winner one day. It’s just all coming together, she’s strengthening up and Archie’s horses are flying — a winner yesterday, a winner today, both at black-type level. He places them very well and the results are phenomenal.

“The ground is drying, it’s good to soft. It’s brilliant to be back here riding winners on Derby Day with a crowd.”

Murphy went on to say: "We weren't absolutely sure as to how we were going to ride her. I had an open plan. She jumped well - she was very relaxed going to post and once she pricked her ears in the race, she was in a good rhythm and was always going to run a good race.

“When you're comfortable and they have some sort of athleticism and balance, and they are in their comfort zone, then it gives you a good enough chance and she's a good enough type.”

Speaking away from the track, winning trainer Archie Watson said: “She is a strong travelling filly and I always felt that she would handle the track. Both Oisin and I were keen to go forwards with her and let her get into a rhythm and it has worked out well.

“I’d say that the rain they had yesterday has helped a bit as well as she has done most of her winning on heavy ground, but saying that she seems quite versatile and I would have no issues on quicker ground.

“She is a Listed winner and she is dual Group Three placed and is now a Group Three winner and she is now a very valuable filly. It was very important to get a win into her first, then a stakes win and then this Group win. It makes my life a little easier as a trainer as we can now run her in the top races.

“I think we will stay at a mile for now, though I do think she would get further under the right circumstances but there is such a good fillies programme over a mile that I don’t think we need to look beyond that at the moment.

“I know it is only 10 days or so to Royal Ascot but the Duke Of Cambridge would be the first option and then on to the Falmouth at Newmarket. If she misses Ascot we would go straight to the Falmouth. Later on in the season we can then look at races like the Sun Chariot, Matron and other races in France.”

Runner-up was 15-2 chance Nazuna and her trainer Roger Varian said: "The plan since January 1st was always to go for the German 1,000 Guineas, but when Germany put us on their red list we just couldn't get there. On that showing I think she'd have gone jolly close.

"She was just a bit slow coming to hand in the cold April but that was a great run and shows she's trained on. They haven't gone very quick and the winner just got away from us, but we were doing our best race late on.

“We'll probably stay at a mile for now, but I think she'll stay a mile and a quarter. I'm just pleased she confirmed her good run in the Rockfel. She's a nice filly and she should have a couple of good days in her."

Andea Atzeni, Nazuna’s jockey, added: "I was happy with that. It was her first run as a three-year-old and you never know until they race if they've trained on, but she has. She's run a good race and she's come on for it."

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Martyn Meade, trainer of third home Statement, the 7-4 favourite, said: “I think the problem was the ground really. I think the main thing for me was that she settled and it was a totally different performance to the Guineas – which is what we wanted to achieve today.

“She settled and she quickened and I just don’t think the ground was on her side, she really just didn’t go in it. The Royal meeting will come too soon, but we’ll look to Goodwood or something like that.

“She lost a shoe and once they get away it’s difficult to pick them up in that sort of ground so I think on balance I would have preferred that she’d have settled than be up with the pace.”

Jockey David Egan added: “I was riding her to get the trip and to get her to switch off early on. She settled very well and came with a nice long one on the outside and just couldn’t catch the leaders on that ground.”

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