Click above to watch Rewilding winning the Prince of Wales’s Stakes (Gr1)
(Image : SMH - Footage : EuroSport)
PRINCE OF WALES’S STAKES (Group 1)
Royal Ascot, 2000m
15 June 2011
For most of yesterday’s G1 Prince of Wales’s Stakes, it appeared all was going perfectly to plan for So You Think (NZ) (High Chaparral), but, in the closing stages, it was Rewilding (GB) (Tiger Hill) who prevailed under a power-packed Frankie Dettori drive.
While all the pre-race emphasis centred around the ex-Australian superstar, Godolphin’s G1 Dubai Sheema Classic hero was under the radar and started at 17-2, opposed to the 4-11 on offer for Ballydoyle’s favorite.
Held on to early as Frankie watched the race unfold in front, he raced enthusiastically while the initially languid Jan Vermeer (Ire) (Montjeu) took up the pacesetting duties after the first quarter. So You Think raced past his stable companion on the final bend and, although he had first run on Rewilding, his early move cost him as the royal blue train steadily usurped the purple where it mattered.
“They were two great horses and it was a sheer joy to be in the race,” Dettori said. “It was a tremendous battle and the second never gave up, but I’m delighted for Rewilding, as he is a good horse and doesn’t get the recognition he deserves.”
“If you win these races, it is a great thing, and the preparation and training was perfect,” Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum commented. Conditioner Mahmood Al Zarooni gave the credit to his boss. “I have to be honest, it’s not me, it’s His Highness - he always gives us direction with the horses,” Al Zarooni noted. “He has been around a long time and has a lot of experience, while we are still learning. The G1 King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes, at Ascot July 23, is next.”
So You Think’s trainer Aidan O’Brien blamed himself his charge’s defeat. “I would take total responsibility for this, as he won his first two starts very easily, and I was letting him come along very gently and not training him very hard,” O’Brien explained. “I didn’t like to get stuck into him and, while this was a big step up from his other races, he was a little fresh and tanked for the first two furlongs, and then went to win and got tired. Frankie gave his horse a beautiful ride and his horse stays a mile and a half well, so he just got him in the final yards. It was trainer’s error for not getting him fit enough for this kind of race, as I didn’t want to chase him too much. We must remember that he would never have had this strong and competitive a race in this atmosphere before, and it was my fault, as he had a big heavy blow after. All I can say is sorry, and we will go on from here and see what happens next time. I would expect plenty of improvement, and the G1 Eclipse at Sandown July 2 is a definite possible, but he has a lot of options, so we’ll go home and discuss it.”
Rewilding’s dam, Darara, a Group 1 winner for breeder The Aga Khan, had produced just one black-type performer by the time she went through the ring as an 11-year-old at Goffs in 1994. Secured by agent Charlie Gordon-Watson on behalf of Sir Andrew Lloyd-Webber for a sale-topping Ir470,000gns, the bay mare proved a bargain at the price. Her first two foals for Watership Down, Kilimanjaro (Shirley Heights) and Rhagaas (Sadler’s Wells), each brought 500,000gns - from Demi O’Byrne and Godolphin, respectively - as yearlings at Tattersalls. Her 1999 Sadler’s Wells colt established a British record when selling for 3.4-million guineas in 2000; originally named Diaghilev, he developed into a Group 1 winner in Hong Kong under the moniker River Dancer. Dar Re Mi was retained to race under pink-and-grey silks, and bankrolled £2,698,880 for the Lloyd-Webbers. John Ferguson secured Rewilding for 500,000gns at Tattersalls in 2008, and the bay colt has repaid that several times over. Darara was pensioned after producing Rewilding.
PRINCE OF WALES’S STAKES (Gr1)
Mahmood Al Zarooni
SO YOU THINK (NZ)
SRI PUTRA (GB)
TWICE OVER (GB)
Sir Henry Cecil
JAN VERMEER (IRE)
Mahmood Al Zarooni
Extract from Thoroughbred Daily News