Even without reigning U.S. Horse of the Year California Chrome – sidelined by a foot issue – the Prince of Wales’s Stakes (gr. I) was still a remarkably international race with runners from England, Ireland, France, Australia and Japan.
In the end, Ireland’s Free Eagle, making only his fifth start, held on to score by a short-head from last year’s French Derby (gr. I) and Irish Champion Stakes (gr. I) winner, The Grey Gatsby. Free Eagle is by Sadler’s Wells late son, High Chaparral – winner of the English and Irish Derbys (gr. I) and back-to-back renewals of the Breeders’ Cup Turf (gr. I) – who was also represented by the third here, Western Hymn.
Out of the Danehill mare, Polished Gem, Free Eagle is half-brother to Irish top-weighted older mare Sapphire, and to five time group winner Custom Cut. Polished Gem is a sister to Matriarch Stakes (gr. I) scorer Dress to Thrill, and to Trust in Luck, granddam of three stakes winners, including Vert de Grace, successful in the Criterium International (gr. I). The second dam, Affirmed’s daughter, Trusted Partner, captured the Irish 1,000 Guineas (gr. I). She is a sister to group winner Easy to Copy, dam of three stakes winners, granddam of two others, and third dam of the Grand Prix de Paris (gr. I) victor Gallante; to graded stakes winner Low Key Affair; and to Epicure’s Garden, a listed scorer who is dam of group/graded winner Lisieux Rose. The third dam is Champion U.S. Two-Year-Old Filly Talking Picture.
Free Eagle is the first group one winner for High Chaparral out of a Danehill mare, but he does have three other group/graded winners on the cross.
Mastercraftsman, whose son, The Grey Gatsby, was somewhat narrowly and unlucky defeated in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes didn’t come away empty handed on the day, as his daughter, Amazing Maria, upset the one mile Duke of Cambridge Stakes (gr. II). A son of Danehill Dancer, Mastercraftsman took the Phoenix Stakes (gr. I) and National Stakes (gr. I) at two, and the Irish 2,000 Guineas (gr. I) and St. James’s Palace Stakes (gr. I) at three. Mastercraftsman is off to a very good start at stud with 11 stakes winners in his first two Northern Hemisphere crops, eight of them group, including, in addition to Amazing Maria and The Grey Gatsby – winner of the French Derby (gr. I) and Irish Champion Stakes (gr. I) – the St. Leger (gr. I) scorer Kingston Hill. He’s also sired five stakes winners, four of them graded, in his first Australian crop.
Amazing Maria is out of Messias da Silva, a two-year-old winning daughter of Tale of the Cat. The second dam, Indy Power, is an A.P. Indy half-sister to U.S. stakes winners One More Power and Dixie Power. Indy Power is a daughter of the Morven Stakes (gr. III) scorer Clever Power, herself a half-sister to U.S. graded winner Integra and Secret Odds. Clever Power’s granddam, Kankakee Miss, was stakes placed and produced the good U.S. speed sire, Clever Trick. She’s also ancestress of several other good winners among them Canadian Champion Alydeed, Big Maverick, a multiple champion in Singapore, Argentine grade one winner Ice Horse, and the St. Leger (gr. I) runner-up Minds Music.
Amazing Maria and stakes winner Pablosky are the only foals by Mastercraftsman out of mares by Tale of the Cat (both Mastercraftsman and Tale of the Cat being Northern Dancer/Mr. Prospector crosses), and he also has graded winner Craftsman out of a mare by Forest Wildcat, who like Tale of the Cat is by Storm Cat out of a Raise a Native line mare (his dam being by Mr. Prospector’s close relative, Forest Wildcat).
The Jersey Stakes (gr. III) run over seven furlongs for three-year-olds, went to Dutch Connection, winner last year of the Acomb Stakes (gr. III). Dutch Connection is by Dutch Art (by Machiavellian’s son, Medicean), winner of the Prix Morny (gr. I), Middle Park Stakes (gr. I) and Norfolk Stakes (gr. II) at two, and three times group one placed at three, including when third in the 2,000 Guineas (gr. I). He’s begun well at stud with 18 stakes winners, seven group, in his first four crops, including the group one winning sprinters Slade Power and Garswood, and five-time group winner Caspar Netscher.
Dutch Connection is out of Endless Love, a daughter of Dubai Destination (a horse who is becoming a useful broodmare sire, not least with Golden Horn). The granddam, listed winning and group placed La Vita e Bella, is half-sister to stakes winner Bella Tusa. Dutch Art and Dubai Destination (by Kingmambo) are both Mr. Prospector line sires, but that strain is back in the fourth generation of the pedigree, and Dutch Art also has two stakes winners out of mares by Kingmambo’s son, King’s Best, for three stakes winners from six starters out of Kingmambo line mares (Dutch Art’s sire, Medicean and Kingmambo both being Mr. Prospector/Northern dancer crosses).
Two years ago U.S. trainer Wesley Ward won the Norfolk Stakes (gr. II) with No Nay Never, a son of Scat Daddy. This year he was back for the Queen Mary Stakes (gr. II) with Scat Daddy daughter, Acapulco. Depite having been beaten at odds on in her only previous outing, Acapulco started as favourite, and the imposing filly ran her rivals off their feet to score by 1 1/2 lengths. Scat Daddy, the leading son of juvenile sensation Johannesburg, won the Sanford Stakes (gr. II) and Champagne Stakes (gr. I) at two, and added the Fountain of Youth Stakes (gr. II) and Florida Derby (gr. I) at three, prior to suffering a career ending injury in the Kentucky Derby (gr. I). At stud, Scat Daddy has sired 24 stakes winners, 11 group/graded in his first four crops (Acapulco is from his fifth), also including No Nay Never, U.S. two-time grade one winner Lady of Shamrock, and the Royal Lodge Stakes (gr. II) and UAE Derby (gr. II) winner Daddy Long Legs. Scat Daddy is also the dominant sire in Chile with his Southern Hemisphere crops.
Acapulco is half-sister to U.S. juvenile stakes winner Prenuptial, and his dam, Gobal Finance (by the Forty Niner horse, End Sweep) won a trio of West Coast stakes at two. The third dam, Friendly Wave, is a daughter of Pentelicus (a brother to Unbridled). She goes back to Champion English Two-Year-Old Filly and 1,000 Guineas captor, Night Off, her sixth dam.
The final black-type race of the the day, the Sandringham Handicap for three-year-old fillies at a mile went to Osaila, who took the Princess Margaret Stakes (gr. III) at the same venue last year, and added the Nell Gwyn Stakes (gr. III) this year. She also has a third in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (gr. I) to her credit.
A daughter of the now retired Danehill Dancer, Osaila is a sister to group winner Obama Rule. The dam, Mennetou, by Sadler’s Wells’ son, Entrepreneur out of Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (gr. I) heroine, Detroit, is a three-quarters sister to another ‘Arc’ winner in Carnegie.