Prince Of Wales’s Stakes
Group 1, Ascot 16:20
£525,000 added,
4yo plus,
1m 2f, Class 1  
Wednesday 17th June 2015

1 Free Eagle 5/2F
2 The Grey Gatsby 9/2
3 Western Hymn 8/1
NR: California Chrome (USA)
9 ran Distances: shd, 2¾l, ½l
TIME 2m 5.07s (slow by 0.07s)

Free Eagle wins the Prince Of Wales's Stakes in a photo with The Grey Gatsby

Free Eagle
© Caroline Norris
Free Eagle

Dermot Weld won the feature race on day two of Royal Ascot, the Group One Prince of Wales's Stakes, with the lightly-raced Free Eagle. The High Chaparral four-year-old, sent off the 5/2 favourite, just held on by a short-head from The Grey Gatsby, trained by Kevin Ryan.

Free Eagle has had an interrupted training programme, having suffered a stress fracture to the tibia in 2014, and his preparation for the Prince of Wales's Stakes was also less than ideal as the horse picked up a cold a few weeks ago.

Weld said: "He got a brilliant ride from Pat [Smullen]. He's a very good horse and when you've a brilliant horse like him, it makes the training easy.

"But he hasn't been easy, he has had a lot of problems. He had a heavy head cold a couple of weeks ago, and I thought today was going to be very much in doubt, but we got him right on the day that matters. Fitness was my biggest concern - he hasn't run for nine months - and I had him as good as I could have him with the limited preparation he had. He gallops low to the ground, he's a lovely stayer, he sticks his head out and he battles.

"But you can't force fitness, and ideally the race was two weeks too soon. I did have huge confidence in the horse and his ability, though. It was a calculated risk and a personal triumph for me.

"Today was the day, but we've been lucky with races like the Irish Champion Stakes, and I've always thought the Arc would be his long-term objective.

"Pat [Smullen] gave him his usual brilliant ride and seized the opportunity."

When asked whether Forgotten Rules would take his chance in Thursday's Gold Cup, Weld said: "We'll see what the ground is like tomorrow. Not that I want soft ground - just safe ground for all these horses."


The Grey Gatsby's defeat will surely be remembered as one of the hard-luck stories of Royal Ascot 2015.

When the eventual winner, Free Eagle, was sent on by jockey Pat Smullen, Frankie Dettori on third-placed Western Hymn made the same move on his outside, with the result that The Grey Gatsby became held in. It was not until Western Hymn began to fade that Jamie Spencer was able to drive The Grey Gatsby for the line, and he made up more than a length inside the final furlong before going down by a short-head.

Kevin Ryan, who trains the runner-up, was not dejected, and said: "I'm not disappointed, and you probably think I should be, but I've got the horse back to his best and I'm looking forward to the big races ahead. He's in the Eclipse, the King George and the Juddmonte International, but it's unfortunate we don't have a pacemaker for him, which is what he needs. If he was owned by one of the big firms, he would have a pacemaker to ensure an end-to-end gallop, but this was always our first aim and no one can say we didn't get it right.

"Over the first two furlongs I thought to myself 'they are going a good gallop here', but then they half pulled up, and my horse became half locked-up. But it was a great horse race and he is back to his best. Jamie would have liked to get out a lot earlier, but you can't barge your way out and that's the rub of the green in racing. After the line he was in front.

"I knew he was in great shape, and I didn't hide the fact that when we ran him in Ireland [when fourth in the Group One Tattersalls Gold Cup] it was a prep run for this meeting. That might sound stupid given it was a Group One race, but he has a lot of races ahead and I was quietly confident he would put up a big show today.

"In racing there are often tiny margins, and it was a great training performance by Dermot Weld with the winner.

"For me there is pleasure in knowing I never lost faith in the horse - he had a break after he ran in Dubai and we knew he was heavy when he ran in Ireland. He does himself well, and far better than the trainer!"

John Gosden, the trainer of Western Hymn, also lamented the pace at which the race was run, and said he wished US challenger California Chrome had run as intended before a foot injury intervened. Gosden said: "That was a fabulous run. That is top draw racing and he acquitted himself with real credit; it was a brilliant run. We probably wished we had more pace to run at, and poor old California Chrome could have helped us with that. We are over the moon with him."


Prince Of Wales's Stakes (Group 1)
£525,000 added, 4yo plus, 1m 2f, Class 1
9 ran
Going: Good to Firm

Pos Draw Dist Horse SP Jockey Weight Trainer Age
1st (4) Free Eagle (IRE) 5/2f P J Smullen
D K Weld 4
2nd (1) s.h The Grey Gatsby (IRE) 9/2 J P Spencer
K A Ryan 4
3rd (3) Western Hymn 8/1 L Dettori
J H M Gosden 4
4th (9) ½ The Corsican (IRE) 14/1 Jim Crowley
D M Simcock 4
5th (7) ½ Criterion (NZ) 20/1 C Schofield
D Hayes 5
6th (5) nk Spielberg (JPN) 7/1 C Soumillon
Kazuo Fujisawa 6
7th (2) Cannock Chase (USA) 8/1 R L Moore
Sir Michael Stoute 4
8th (10) hd Gailo Chop (FR) 10/1 J Auge
A De Watrigant 4
9th (8) 8 Ectot 7/1 G Benoist
E Lellouche 4
NR (6) California Chrome (USA) 10/1 Non Runner
Art Sherman 4


Past Results


2013-WINNER-AL KAZEEM 5-9-00 Owner-John Deer; Trainer-Roger Charlton; Jockey-James Doyle; SP-11/4
2ND-Mukhadram 4-9-00 Owner-Hamdan Al Maktoum; Trainer-William Haggas; Jockey-Paul Hanagan; SP-14/1
3RD-The Fugue 4-8-11 Owner-Lord Lloyd-Webber; Trainer-John Gosden; Jockey-William Buick; SP-13/2
11 ran; Time-2m 3.06s; Dist-nk, 3¼ 5/2 Fav Camelot (4th)

2012-WINNER-SO YOU THINK 6-9-00 Owner- Smith/Magnier/Tabor/DatoTan/TunkuYahaya; Trainer-Aidan O’Brien IRE; Jockey-
Joseph O’Brien; SP-4/5F
2ND-Carlton House 4-9-00 Owner-The Queen; Trainer-Sir Michael Stoute; Jockey-Ryan Moore; SP-7/2
3RD-Farhh 4-9-00 Owner-Godolphin; Trainer-Saeed bin Suroor; Jockey-Frankie Dettori; SP-6/1
11 ran; Time-2m 3.86s; Dist-2¼, ½

2011-WINNER-REWILDING 4-9-00 Owner-Godolphin; Trainer Mahmood Al Zarooni; Jockey-Frankie Dettori; SP-17/2
2ND-So You Think 5-9-00 Owner-Smith/Magnier/Tabor/Dato Tan/Tunku Yahaya; Trainer-Aidan O’Brien IRE; Jockey-Ryan
Moore; SP-4/11 Fav
3RD-Sri Putra 5-9-00 Owner-H R H Sultan Ahmad Shah; Trainer-Roger Varian; Jockey-Neil Callan; SP-66/1
7 ran; Time-2m 4.24s; Dist-nk, 6

2010-WINNER-BYWORD 4-9-00 Owner-Khalid Abdullah; Trainer-Andre Fabre FR; Jockey-Maxime Guyon; SP-5/2 Fav
2ND-Twice Over 5-9-00 Owner-Khalid Abdullah; Trainer-Henry Cecil; Jockey-Tom Queally; SP-11/2
3RD-Tazeez 6-9-00 Owner-Hamdan Al Maktoum; Trainer-John Gosden; Jockey-Tadhg O’Shea; SP-40/1
12 ran; Time-2m 5.35s; Dist-½, ¾

2009-WINNER-VISION D’ETAT 4-9-00 Owner-Jacques Detre; Trainer-Eric Libaud FR; Jockey-Olivier Peslier; SP-4/1
2ND-Tartan Bearer 4-9-00 Owner-Ballymacoll Stud; Trainer-Sir Michael Stoute; Jockey-Ryan Moore; SP-6/4 Fav
3RD-Never On Sunday 4-9-00 Owner-Daniel-Yves Treves; Trainer-Jean Claude Rouget FR; Jockey-Christophe Lemaire;
8 ran; Time-2m 6.90s; Dist-½, hd

2008-WINNER-DUKE OF MARMALADE 4-9-00 Owner-Sue Magnier & Michael Tabor; Trainer-Aidan O’Brien IRE; Jockey-
Johnny Murtagh; SP-Evens Fav
2ND-Phoenix Tower 4-9-00 Owner-Khalid Abdullah; Trainer-Henry Cecil; Jockey-Ted Durcan; SP-7/1
3RD-Pipedreamer 4-9-00 Owner-Cheveley Park Stud; Trainer-John Gosden; Jockey-Jimmy Fortune; SP-11/1
12 ran, Time-2m 5.35s, Dist-4, sh

2007-WINNER-MANDURO 5-9-00 Owner-Baron Georg von Ullmann; Trainer-Andre Fabre FR; Jockey-Stephane Pasquier;
SP-15/8 Fav
2ND-Dylan Thomas 4-9-00 Owner-Sue Magnier & Michael Tabor; Trainer-Aidan O’Brien IRE; Jockey-Christophe Soumillon;
3RD-Notnowcato Owner-Anthony & David de Rothschild; Trainer-Sir Michael Stoute; Jockey-Johnny Murtagh; SP-13/2
6 ran, Time-2m 5.91s, Dist-1¼, 4

2006-WINNER-OUIJA BOARD 5-8-11 Owner-Lord Derby; Trainer-Ed Dunlop; Jockey-Olivier Peslier; SP-8/1
2ND-Electrocutionist 5-9-00 Owner-Godolphin; Trainer-Saeed bin Suroor; Jockey-Frankie Dettori; SP-9/4
3RD-Manduro 4-9-00 Owner-Baron Georg von Ullmann; Trainer-Andre Fabre FR; Jockey-Christophe Soumillon; SP-12/1
7 ran, Time-2m 6.92s, Dist-½, ¾ 11/8 Fav David Junior (4th)

2005-WINNER-AZAMOUR 4-9-00 Owner-H H Aga Khan; Trainer-John Oxx IRE; Jockey-Michael Kinane; SP-11/8 Fav
2ND-Ace 4-9-00 Owner-Sue Magnier, Michael Tabor & Mrs Harry McCalmont; Trainer-Aidan O’Brien IRE; Jockey-Kieren Fallon;
3RD-Elvstroem 5-9-00 Owner-Elvstroem Syndicate; Trainer-Tony Vasil AUS; Jockey-Nash Rawiller; SP-11/1
8 ran Time-2m 8.15s Dist-1½, 5 (run at York)

2004-WINNER-RAKTI 5-9-00 Owner-Gary Tanaka; Trainer-Michael Jarvis; Jockey-Philip Robinson; SP-3/1
2ND-Powerscourt 4-9-00 Owner-Sue Magnier; Trainer-Aidan O’Brien IRE; Jockey-Jamie Spencer; SP-9/2
3RD-Ikhtyar 4-9-00 Owner-Hamdan Al Maktoum; Trainer-John Gosden; Jockey-Richard Hills; SP-8/1
10 ran Time-2m 04.95s Dist-2, ½ 11/4 Fav Sulamani (4th)

2003-WINNER-NAYEF 5-9-00 Owner-Hamdan Al Maktoum; Trainer-Marcus Tregoning; Jockey-Richard Hills; SP-5/1
2ND-Rakti 4-9-00 Owner-Gary Tanaka; Trainer-Michael Jarvis; Jockey-Phillip Robinson; SP-50/1
3RD-Islington 4-8-11 Owner-Exors of the late Lord Weinstock; Trainer-Sir Michael Stoute; Jockey-Kieren Fallon; SP-7/1
10 ran Time-2m 05.30s Dist-2½, 1 2/1 Fav Moon Ballad (9th)