Breeders' Cup Winner Highland Reel Scores at Royal Ascot
- Author: Salvatore Jensen Jun 25, 2017,
Jun 25, 2017, 8:01
The five-year-old who won the Secretariat Stakes over a mile and quarter in 2015 and took the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth II Stakes over 12 furlongs at Ascot last summer, hopes to get Team Ballydoyle back on track following the surprise defeat of double Guineas victor Churchill in the Group 1 St. James's Palace Stakes on the opening day of the meeting.
American trainer Wesley A. Ward has entered 10 horses at Royal Ascot as part of the largest contingent of US runners to compete at the prestigious racing festival staged just outside London. At 13/2 with BetVictor I would be disappointed if she didn't make the frame.
Al Jalila seemed engrossed in the racing action, enjoying a sweet celebratory hug from her father at one point during the day.
"He's won't stop, he's so quick tactically and so fearless".
"He has passed every test that you would want a Thoroughbred to go through", the trainer added. Ryan asked for courage and he gave it to him. She's always been a very good filly, but she did it well today. He is a natural, brilliant athlete and that is what he has been at home.
"He's just an incredible horse - pace, courage, speed, he has everything, he's a great horse".
"He was never comfortable, I'm not sure why", said Moore. Last July, Highland Reel won the Group 1 King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot, a race that could be on his schedule this year on July 28. "We are very happy to win two times at Royal Ascot with Qemah". Ryan Moore kept the Galileo star in second and turned him loose in the homestretch.
O'Brien - who until yesterday had carried nearly all before him this season in winning three of the four English classics - said Churchill had run a good race, but jockey Ryan Moore was perplexed. "It was a tough performance at Epsom and another one here, he's so fearless and I'd say that was probably a career best".
Given Churchill's odds were even shorter than Ribchester's starting price of 11-10 favourite, it is understandable that Fahey, 51, has endured sleepless nights in the build-up to the big race.
Ulysses and Decorated Knight even nudged in front of the eventual victor but Highland Reel was simply too tough and too streetwise when it mattered and O'Brien's five-year-old ended up winning by a length and a quarter, with a short head separating Decorated Knight and Ulysses.
"He might go for the Eclipse but we'll talk to the owners, the other option is the Arlington Million but after a performance like that the Eclipse has to be on the agenda".
Having been under pressure turning in, the son of Halling failed to pick up, finishing last of the eight runners.
By the mighty Frankel out of Nassau and Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare turf victor Midday, she has been brought along steadily by trainer John Gosden.
Quest For More disappointed in Dubai on soft ground and again on quicker going in the Henry II Stakes, but trainer Roger Charlton feels he had valid excuses for both runs.
"He didn't let himself down on it".
Qemah came from behind a moderate pace to nail the Duke of Cambridge Stakes (G2) for fillies and mares at 1 mile down the straight.