The globetrotting State of Rest added another Group 1 prize to his glowing record on Day 2 of racing at Royal Ascot in England.
The feature event on Wednesday was the Prince of Wales’s S. (G1), a 1 1/4-mile “Win and You’re In” qualifier to the 2022 Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1). Odds-on favorite Bay Bridge was expected to claim top honors while stepping up in company off a five-race win streak, but proven class got the better of potential as State of Rest posted a resilient victory for jockey Shane Crosse and trainer Joseph O’Brien.
State of Rest has enjoyed success in practically every corner of the horse racing globe. He first rose to prominence when shipping to the United States for a victory in the Saratoga Derby (G1), after which he won the Cox Plate (G1) in Australia and the Prix Ganay (G1) in France.
Exiting a close third-place finish in Ireland’s Tattersalls Gold Cup (G1), State of Rest made all the running in the Prince of Wales’s, dashing to the front of a five-horse field while receiving only token pressure from Japanese raider Shahryar. This cozy lead proved most advantageous to State of Rest, who gamely withstood Bay Bridge’s homestretch challenge to win by a length and secure his fourth Group 1 win in as many countries.
“It is a dream,” said Crosse. “To get here and participate is a huge thing. To ride a horse like this in top-class races is a dream. You cannot describe it.”
“It was a brilliant ride from Shane. State Of Rest is a very tough horse,” noted O’Brien, the former jockey who was scoring his first Royal Ascot success as a trainer. “We had a good chat with Shane and decided to make the running. It could not have worked out better. He got the fractions perfect.”
The mare Grand Glory closed ground late to edge Shahryar for third place, while Lord North—hampered by the late removal of a starting gate blindfold—trailed after conceding a large amount of ground at the start.
Queen Mary S.
Wednesday’s group stakes action at Royal Ascot began with the Queen Mary S. (G2), a five-furlong dash for juvenile fillies. Wesley Ward’s American challenger Love Reigns put up a solid pacesetting effort, but faded late to finish fourth as Dramatised charged to a decisive 1 3/4-length score over Maylandsea and Maria Branwell.
Previously victorious by four lengths in a Newmarket maiden heat, Dramatised brought her record to a perfect 2-for-2 with a pace-tracking victory under Daniel Tudhope. Karl Burke conditions the daughter of Showcasing.
“She has a lot of natural speed. She lengthens and she keeps going. I’m sure she’ll stay six furlongs, although Danny said to keep her at five furlongs for the moment,” Burke said. “Dramatised is a Group 1 horse ability wise. She is a bit of a diva, but she looked very good today and handled the preliminaries very well. We’ve spoken about the Prix Morny and we will consider that. The Lowther at York is right up Steve’s (Parkin, owner) alley too.”
Queen’s Vase S.
The 1 3/4-mile Queen’s Vase S. (G2) for three-year-olds was the next group stakes on the agenda. A dozen runners faced the starter with Eldar Eldarov favored after opening his career with consecutive victories against easier company. The Roger Varian trainee didn’t disappoint, unleashing a determined rally under David Egan to get up and win by a nose over longshot Zechariah. Hafit finished another neck back in third position.
“I have never hit the line so strong in a mile and six-furlong race and ended up by the St James’s Palace Stakes start,” Egan said. “Eldar Eldarov was full of running. They went a nice gallop and everything worked out well.”
Duke of Cambridge S.
In contrast to the three-horse photo finish in the Queen’s Vase, the Duke of Cambridge S. (G2) for fillies and mares racing one mile saw Saffron Beach produce a blowout victory. With William Buick in the saddle for trainer Jane Chapple-Hyam, Saffron Beach tracked the early pace before seizing command and drawing off with authority to defeat Thunder Beauty and Primo Bacio by 3 1/2 lengths.
“Saffron Beach got a nice lead for the first half of the race. We were going slow, but she got into a nice rhythm,” Buick said. “I wanted to get there in good time and not turn it into a two-furlong sprint, but she won very well and it was straightforward for her.”
Victorious in the Sun Chariot S. (G1) last fall, Saffron Beach has won three of her last four starts, with her lone defeat coming when fourth against males in the rich Dubai Turf (G1) earlier this spring. After the Duke of Cambridge, Chapple-Hyam mentioned future plans could include a Breeders’ Cup start this fall.
“I presume it will be the Prix Rothschild on Aug. 2, the Sun Chariot at Newmarket, and then the Breeders’ Cup,” Chapple-Hyam said. “We will leave it to the owners.”
Racing continues on Thursday at Royal Ascot with another busy card highlighted by the 2 1/2-mile Gold Cup (G1) and the six-furlong Norfolk S. (G2). The latter event serves as a “Win and You’re In” qualifier to the 2022 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint (G2).