|Group 2, Ascot 14:30
5f, Class 1
|Thursday 16th June 2016|
1 Prince Of Lir 8/1
2 The Last Lion 20/1
3 Silver Line 7/2
11 ran Distances: ½l, nk, ½l
TIME 1m 1.17s (slow by 2.17s)
Prince Of Lir beats The Last Lion and Silver Line in the Norfolk Stakes
Jockey Luke Morris was all smiles after he registered his first Royal Ascot winner following Prince Of Lir's half length victory in the Group Two Norfolk Stakes over five furlongs this afternoon.
The Robert Cowell-trained two-year-old was one of the first off the bridle but he stuck to his task well and stayed on strongly in the final furlong to extend his unbeaten record.
The 8/1 shot had made a winning debut at Beverley in the Brian Yeardley Continential Two Year Old Trophy, beating The Last Lion one and a quarter lengths, and the same rival was runner-up again here today. Prince Of Lir was the quickest breeze-up horse at this year's Goffs UK Doncaster Breeze-Up Sale in April of this year and was purchased by Stroud Coleman Bloodstock for £170,000.
Morris revealed the race hadn't gone exactly to plan from the start.
"He came off the bridle a long way from home and I was actually quite concerned," explained the jockey.
"He travelled really well first time at Beverley but he's shown a good attitude here and stuck his head out well.
"Prince Of Lir has only had one start and is just a little bit inexperienced. He is a very talented horse and once he hit the rising ground and got rolling he put the race to bed nicely.
"I thought the ground was somewhere in between soft and good to soft. Both Robert and myself were concerned a bit about the ground but Kodiac's go quite well on this surface. It's dried out a bit though and he's handled it well.
"He's done the business there at a pretty good level and I'd say that six furlongs would be an option for him. He's a good, forward two-year-old and there should be more to come.
"It's an unbelievable buzz coming into this winners' enclosure and it's what you spend your long nights and early mornings working towards. It's great to get that first winner."
£100,000 added, 2yo only, 5f, Class 1
|Pos||Dr||D||Horse SP||Jockey Weight||Trainer||Age|
|1st||(10)||Prince Of Lir (IRE) 8/1||L Morris
|R M H Cowell||2|
|2nd||(8)||½||The Last Lion (IRE) 20/1||J Fanning
|3rd||(11)||nk||Silver Line (IRE) 7/2||James Doyle
|S bin Suroor||2|
|4th||(6)||½||Peace Envoy (FR) 9/2||R L Moore
|A P O'Brien||2|
|5th||(4)||1½||Global Applause 3/1f||L Dettori
|E A L Dunlop||2|
|6th||(9)||1¼||Legendary Lunch (IRE) 7/1||P J Dobbs
|7th||(3)||s.h||Big Time Baby (IRE) 16/1||R Kingscote
|8th||(7)||2½||Nuclear Power 66/1||T P Queally
|9th||(5)||2¼||Red Lodge (USA) 8/1||John Velazquez
|10th||(1)||nk||Prince Of Cool 25/1||T Eaves
|J G Given||2|
|11th||(2)||2¾||Plata O Plomo 20/1||Barry McHugh
JOHNSTON PLEASED WITH THE LAST LION'S 'SOLID' SECOND
Trainer Mark Johnston was pleased with the effort of The Last Lion, after the two-year-old finished half a length adrift of the winner Prince Of Lir at 20/1.
This is the second time Prince Of Lir has got the better of the son of Choisir, after the winner beat him over the same distance at Beverley last month.
Johnston said: "The form is usually right and he's run to form. The winner has improved a bit for the second run and apart from him the only other horse to finish in front of my runner is the American filly (Create A Dream) who runs here tomorrow.
"His form is rock solid and hasn't actually varied, it's not me that makes him 20/1 or whatever he was. He (Joe Fanning) clearly felt like he had it won with a furlong to go but the other horse has got passed him and it looks like we have come back at it a bit. I don't think you can plan for those things over that trip.
Speaking about possible future plans, Johnston continued: "We would be open-minded in terms of six furlongs. I don't think we should say he is better on soft ground because his form on fast ground is also very good. Some horses don't handle soft and he's shown us today that he does and makes him more versatile and means we don't have shy away from cut in the ground in future."
Joe Fanning said: "He ran well. Inside the two, I thought he was going nicely and we might just have done enough to win. But the winner (Prince Of Lir) just came by me, but mine battled back again. He's run a solid race."
James Doyle, the rider of the third Silver Line, who finished a neck behind the second, said: "He has run well - he just lacked a bit of speed. I was happy with the early part of the race but, just when I needed him to find a few lengths, he flattened out."