Dubai: Dubai owners look set to enjoy their best year ever at Royal Ascot if the events of the past two days at British racing’s most celebrated racing festival are anything to go buy.
For the second day in succession, horses bred or owned by Dubai’s powerful Al Maktoum family have dominated proceedings at the Berkshire course, winning the lion’s share of the meeting’s seven races.
Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Minister of Finance, who won three races on Tuesday continued where he had left off to secure a fourth Royal Ascot winner when Hukum landed the King George V Stakes under a classy ride by his retained rider Jim Crowley.
This would set the ball rolling for three more Dubai-owned winners led by the outstanding Lord North, who with James Doyle at the top of his game, upstaged the likes of multiple Group 1 winners, Japan, Addeybb and Barney Roy to win the Prince of Wales’s Stakes, the feature race of Day 2.
Doyle has long since established himself as one of the best riders in Europe and he showed just why when delivering a stellar ride aboard Long North, who raced in the blue and white silks of Sheikh Zayed Bin Mohammad Racing, colours formerly owned by the late Ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Maktoum Bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
It may have only been a 14th Royal Ascot winner for Doyle, but there are surely many more to come for the talented Godolphin rider, and he got another when he donned Queen Elizabeth II’s famous silks to fittingly win the Windsor Castle Stakes aboard Tactical.
Royal Ascot just would not be the same without a royal winner and Doyle did what the had to do to ensure the Queen would get her share of the day’s honours.
William Buick, Doyle’s teammate with the Dubai-owned Godolphin stable, was not to be denied his share of the spotlight, as he teamed up Scottish-born and Yorkshire-based handler Mark Johnston’s Dark Vision to win the Royal Hunt Cup for Godolphin.
The day ended on a happy note with Epsom Derby-winning owner Sheikh Mohammad Obaid Al Maktoum’s Fujaira Prince taking the Copper Horse Handicap under Italian jockey Andrea Atzeni.
The star performance of the day was without doubt Lord North’s Prince of Wales’s Stakes victory where Doyle had a big role to play with a level-headed ride.
Having settled his mount at the back of the star-studded field early, Doyle made his move in the straight and the response was spontaneous.
Lord North moved into top gear and reeled in his adversaries in imperious fashion to win as he liked.
“He quickened up like a really nice horse, a proper horse,” Doyle told ITV Racing. “He travelled into it great, showed a good turn of foot. I’d like to ride him again, put it that way.”
Lord North’s victory was another huge training performance from the master himself, John Gosden and a trip to Sandown Park for the prestigious Eclipse Stakes (G1) is surely the horse’s next port of call.
Addeybb, who landed a pair of Group 1s in Australia earlier this year for his owner Maj. Gen. shaikh Ahmed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Chief of Dubai Police and Public Security, was far from disgraced and finished second while favourite Japan was a huge disappointment.
Godolphin’s Barney Roy, already a Royal Ascot hero, stayed on for third.