Highland glee for O’Brien
Highland Reel secured a sixth Group One triumph in a decorated career when he won the Prince of Wales’s Stakes, the feature race on day two of Royal Ascot.
The teak-tough colt is not the most fashionable of Aidan O’Brien’s A-list horses, but few are more resilient when it comes to a fight.
And so it proved once again as Ryan Moore’s companion bravely fended off all-comers to score at odds of 9-4.
Scottish made most of the running, with Highland Reel hot on his heels and Decorated Knight not too far away, either.
The landscape of the race barely altered until deep inside the second-last furlong when Ulysses made his move.
Ulysses and Decorated Knight even nudged in front of the eventual winner, but Highland Reel was simply too tough and too streetwise when it mattered.
O’Brien’s five-year-old ended up winning by a length and a quarter, with a short head separating Decorated Knight and Ulysses.
Moore said: “He’s so tough, he’s got a marvellous attitude, so many came at him there. This lad has been everywhere but he keeps coming back. It was a tough performance at Epsom (Coronation Cup) and another one today, he’s so brave and I’d say that was probably a career best
“Fair play to Aidan to keep bringing him back. He had a difficult day at Epsom but to come here and win, it’s a massive performance. We knew he’d see it out really well.”
Jack Hobbs, the 2-1 favourite, was a huge disappointment and finished last having had every chance.
O’Brien said: “He’s a brilliant horse and Ryan gave him a brilliant ride. Davy and Andrew were happy with him at home and they were really looking forward to it. We’re delighted.
“Seamus (Heffernan) was very happy with his work and David who rides him every day was over the moon with him. He’s unbelievable. He’s just an incredible horse – pace, courage, speed, he has everything, he’s a great horse.
“He’s won’t stop, he’s so quick tactically and so brave. He stays a mile and a half well but won over seven at two so he’s always had that pace.”
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