Posts

Love returns in her ideal conditions for Prince of Wales’s

Love will finally get the chance to build on her perfect three-year-old season when she reappears in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot.

Aidan O’Brien’s filly was favourite for the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe until she was ruled out on account of the soft ground – before the contaminated feed scare which resulted in some of his string being unable to run in any case at ParisLongchamp in October.

Love, a Group One winner at two in the Moyglare Stud Stakes as well, was imperious last summer – winning the 1000 Guineas, Oaks and Yorkshire Oaks by an aggregate of 18 and a quarter lengths.

Several options this season have come and gone, with O’Brien waiting for her preferred quick surface – and she will have that in her favour on Wednesday.

“She’s been waiting to start back a while – and while the ground is right, we’re keen to get her started,” said O’Brien.

“Her other option was the Pretty Polly (June 27 at the Curragh), and we could have waited for that against her own sex – but by then the ground could have gone (soft) again.

“She’s in good form, she’s ready to start again.”

The Ballydoyle trainer also runs Armory, placed in both the Irish Champion Stakes and the Cox Plate last year.

Armory (left) was an easy winner of the Huxley Stakes
Armory (left) was an easy winner of the Huxley Stakes (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

He returned to action with a stylish victory at Chester over the reopposing Sangarius.

“This race has always been the plan for Armory – and that is why he went to Chester, to get ready for it,” said O’Brien.

“We were delighted with him at Chester and we’ve been delighted with him since as well.

“Going to Chester, we were a little bit worried about how he’d handle the soft ground – but good, fast ground is what he likes and needs.”

The race forms part of the Qipco British Champion Series, and James Fanshawe agonised over whether to set his Breeders’ Cup winner Audarya such a stiff task first time out.

“It’s a tough introduction for her,” he said.

“But it would have been tough going to Ireland first time out too, and I wanted to keep her against her own age group (the Pretty Polly is open to three-year-olds).

“She seems really well and she’s very straightforward to train day to day, although she has a fairly prickly personality and appreciates her own space.

“She’s very tough and hardy, as she showed when losing only ten kilos on that long trip to Keeneland and back, via Chicago.”

My Oberon gave a good account in France last time out
My Oberon gave a good account in France last time out (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

William Haggas’ My Oberon and David Simcock’s Desert Encounter complete the field.

Haggas has been wanting to step My Oberon up in trip and said: “I’ve got my wish.

“He ran very well in France (third in Prix d’Ispahan) when his jockey (Ioritz Mendizabal) was very pleased with him. I think we’ll just wait a bit with him and see what happens.

“It looks a very good race, if they all pitch up in good form then we’re going to struggle.”

Haggas did have Addeybb engaged, but the forecast rain is not due to arrive until Thursday.

“We could have done with the race a day later for him. We’re thinking he might go for the Eclipse if the ground is fine,” said Haggas.

Love leads the way as eight stand Wales’s ground

Dual Classic heroine Love is among eight confirmations for Wednesday’s Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot.

Aidan O’Brien’s filly has not been seen since winning the Yorkshire Oaks by five lengths in August, having previously dominated her own age group in both the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket and the Oaks at Epsom.

The daughter of Galileo missed an intended tilt at the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in October on account of soft ground, meaning she will be making her first appearance in 10 months if she lines up for the feature event on day two of the Royal meeting.

O’Brien, who has previously won the Prince of Wales’s Stakes with Duke Of Marmalade (2008), So You Think (2012) and Highland Reel (2017), has also confirmed Armory for this year’s renewal.

The latter looks ready for a return to the top level judged on his impressive comeback victory in last month’s Huxley Stakes at Chester.

Ante-post lists are headed by John and Thady Gosden’s defending champion Lord North.

The Dubawi gelding failed to replicate his impressive performance of 12 months ago during the remainder of his 2020 campaign, but was back to his brilliant best when landing the Dubai Turf at Meydan in March.

Addeybb (left) winning the Qipco Champion Stakes at Ascot
Addeybb (left) winning the Qipco Champion Stakes at Ascot (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

The William Haggas-trained Addeybb filled the runner-up spot behind Lord North 12 months ago before returning to Ascot in the autumn to win the Qipco Champion Stakes.

He is set to renew rivalry following another successful stint in Australia and could be joined by stablemate My Oberon.

David Simcock’s stable stalwart Desert Encounter, the Sir Michael Stoute-trained Sangarius and James Fanshawe’s star mare Audarya are the other hopefuls.

The latter has been off the track since winning the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf at Keeneland in November.

Armory makes it look easy in Huxley Stakes

Armory proved a class above his rivals as he made a successful start to his campaign in the Melodi Media Huxley Stakes at Chester, with a step back up to the highest level next on the agenda.

The Galileo colt brought some top-class form to the table from last season, having finished fourth in the Irish 2,000 Guineas and the Tattersalls Gold Cup, third in the Irish Champion Stakes and second to former stablemate Sir Dragonet in the Cox Plate in Australia.

He was the 6-5 favourite to provide trainer Aidan O’Brien with a third victory in this Group Two contest – and after settling at the rear of the four-strong field for much of the race, quickly found top gear under Ryan Moore in the straight to leave his rivals toiling.

Sangarius filled the runner-up spot, beaten three lengths by the impressive winner.

Armory (left) sweeps to the front
Armory (left) sweeps to the front (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

O’Brien said: “We were delighted. He’s really matured.

“I suppose what he has is an unbelievable turn of foot, which is a great thing in a horse because you don’t mind if they go fast or they go slow, as he quickens very well.

“He’s done very well over the winter, he had a lovely run in Australia last year but things didn’t really work out for him so we’re delighted.

“We were thinking after this he might go for the Tattersalls Gold Cup or the Prince of Wales’s, but probably the Prince of Wales’s.

“He has plenty of pace, but we always thought he’d get 10 furlongs – when you have a horse who quickens like that it’s a bonus, and Ryan gave him a lovely ride.”

Moore said: “I was very happy with him. He was a high-class two-year-old.

“He has form on soft ground, but when it’s quicker he can show his turn of foot. It was a steady race today, a messy race but he’s got a really good change of gear.

“He’s very talented. I don’t know what the plan but he’s won a Group Two there and he’s already been second in a Cox Plate, (so) he’s entitled to take his place at a higher level.”