Arts&Culture

Globetrotting horse Highland Reel wins at Royal Ascot

Globetrotting horse Highland Reel wins at Royal Ascot

After a few near-misses with mainly second strings, the Coolmore juggernaut finally got rolling in the race that mattered yesterday, the Prince of Wales's Stakes.

The big disappointment in the race was the John Gosden-trained favourite Jack Hobbs.

"I'd say that was probably a career best", jockey Ryan Moore said of Highland Reel, a bay horse whose six Group 1 wins have come across three continents.

Last year, three runners made their way to Sha Tin after competing at Royal Ascot, including the victor Defrocked, now known as Limitless, third-placegetter Chief Whip (renamed California Whip) and the horse who finished sixth, Out And About (now Booming Delight).

O'Brien was typically humble about his own landmark of 300 Group and Grade One wins.

"He has passed every test that you would want a thoroughbred to go through". He's full of courage, tactically very quick and we've travelled him everywhere.

He said: "I'm happy with him, he ran really well".

"If it comes anywhere near courage, then he will be there fighting", said O'Brien. The Siyouni colt, second in the French Two Thousand Guineas (G1) in his previous start, finished in 1:25.05.

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Heartache was a decisive victor in the Queen Mary Stakes, beating the heavily backed Happy Like A Fool. "With that in mind, I do think that this filly is a big filly and I feel that she will mature into something special in the future".

Al Jalila seemed engrossed in the racing action, enjoying a sweet celebratory hug from her father at one point during the day. He was back to a mile and a quarter today and we know he gets a mile and a half well, but was a very good Group 2 victor over seven furlongs as a two-year-old. O'Brien had to wait until the 10th race of the week, having fielded 11 losers in the earlier contests, but was rescued by the horse who was already his most successful in terms of prize money won.

"We knew he would see it out real well (the race distance), and the last furlong was his best".

"Two-year-olds are my passion, the stars of the future, and she is".

Meanwhile the Queen, who is known to love watching horse-racing, looked thrilled to be there.

Johnny Weatherby, chairman of Ascot Racecourse, said earlier: "We have all been deeply saddened by recent tragic events around the country".

It was a second French victor of the day, after Le Brivido won the jersey stakes for master trainer Andre Fabre.


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