The highlight of the day, the ten furlong Prince of Wales’s Stakes (G1) was also supposed to be one of the banker bets of the meeting, featuring Cracksman, officially the high-weighted turf male in the world last year. Cracksman had reportedly struggled to handle the downhill at Epsom when narrowly winning the Coronation Cup (G1) last out. Here, in a strongly run race on ground labeled good-to-firm, he never looked comfortable, and although he hit the front two furlongs out, and he had little to offer when Poet’s Word challenged a furlong from home, and though he kept on gamely enough, he went down by 2 1/4 lengths.
This was a first group one win for Poet’s Word, a tough, consistent five-year-old who hit a new performance high here. As his name suggests, he’s a son of the Dubawi horse, Poet’s Voice, who unfortunately died of a heart attack this spring at the age of 11. He’s the first winner at the highest level for his sire, who has been solid rather than spectacular, with 10 stakes winners, eight group, in his first three crops. He also shuttled to Australia, where he has four stakes winners, one graded, in his first two crops.
Poet’s Word’s dam, Whirly Bird, a stakes placed daughter of Nashwan, is also dam of the two-time group winning filly Malabar (by Raven’s Pass), and is granddam of Beckford, a group two winner in Ireland at two, and a stakes winner in the U.S. this year. Whirly Bird is half-sister to a pair of stakes winners, and her dam, Inchyre, is a Shirley Heights half-sister to Inchinor, a three-time group winner at seven furlongs who later became a smart sire. Another half-sister, stakes winner Ingozi, is dam of Miss Keller, who captured the E. P. Taylor Stakes (G1), and was Champion Turf Female in Canada, and granddam of the St. Leger (G1) scorer, Harbour Law.
Poet’s Voice’s dam, Bright Tiara, is by Chief’s Crown, who is by Danzig and is grandson of the great runner and foundation mare, Chris Evert. By coincidence, Danzig and Chris Evert also come together in the dam of the impressive Jersey Stakes (G3) scorer, Expert Eye, who is out of a mare by Dansili (Danzig) and has Chris Evert as his fifth dam. Expert Eye looked like a coming superstar when taking last year’s Vintage Stakes (G2) on only his second start, but flopped completely when last of nine behind U.S. Navy Flag in the Dewhurst Stakes (G1). He was second in the Greenham Stakes (G3) first time out this year, but could do no better than tenth of fourteen in the 2,000 Guineas (G1).
Expert Eye’s sire, Acclamation (by Royal Applause, by Waajib, by El Gran Senor’s brother, Try My Best) was a smart sprinter, and has been a prolific sire of fast horses, most notably group one winners Dark Angel – now Europe’s leading sprint sire – Aclaim, Equiano and Marsha. Expert Eye’s dam, Exemplify, is half-sister to Special Duty (Hennessy), Champion Two-Year-Old Filly in Europe, and winner of the French and English 1,000 Guineas (G1). The second dam, Quest to Peak, is half-sister to two really good U.S. turf fillies in Sightseek and Tates Creek.
The day had kicked off with the Queen Mary Stakes (G2) over five furlongs for two-year-old fillies. It resulted in a blanket finish with 25-1 shot Signora Cabello getting home by a short-head from another 25-1 shot, Gossamer Wings (by Scat Daddy). Signora Cabello has now won three straight, and had defied 20-1 odds to take the Marygate Fillies Stakes on her previous outing. Signora Cabello is by Camacho, a listed winning sprinter who is a Danehill half-brother to rising stallion star, Showcasing. Now 16-years-old, Camacho has been a solid blue collar stallion, despite a number of his books of mares being shot of both quality and quantity. He’s also responsible for this year’s French 1,000 Guineas (G1) captress, Teppal, and has 11 other stakes winners to his name, three group.
Signora Cabello’s dam, Journalist, a daughter of Night Shift, was second in the Princess Margaret Stakes (G3) at Ascot (then part of the “Heath” meeting, which was on the Saturday of the Royal Ascot meeting). She is half-sister to the Danehill horse, Sheer Viking, winner of the Flying Childers Stakes (G2) at two. The second dam, Schlefalora, is a Swedish-raced half-sister to the 1,000 Guineas (G1) winner, Las Meninas, and to the granddam of the very good sprinter, Kingsgate Native.
At the other end of the distance scale, the Queen’s Vase (G2), now reduced to 14 furlongs from two miles, resulted in an Aiden O’Brien 1-2-3, the impressive winner of the trio being Kew Gardens. A likely candidate for the St. Leger (G1), Kew Gardens is by Galileo out of Chelsea Rose, who won the Moyglare Stud Stakes (G1) over seven furlongs at two, but was subsequently a listed winner at 1 1/2 miles. Chelsea Rose is by Desert King, a Danehill son, which makes Kew Gardens another in the seemingly endless production line of stakes winners by Galileo out of Danehill line mares, and Desert King’s broodmare sire is Nureyev, so giving that horse and his three-quarters brother, Sadler’s Wells. Chelsea Rose is also dam of the group winning and group one placed Thawaany, a filly by Tamayuz. The granddam, Cinnamon Rose (by Trempolino), is half-sister to River Warden, a group winner in France, and a stakes winner and grade one placed in the U.S., and to the Hoist the Flag Stakes (G3) scorer Sweettuc.
The other stakes event on the day was the one mile Duke of Cambridge Stakes (G2) for older fillies and mares which went to last year’s runner-up, Aljazzi. A daughter of Shamardal, whom we discussed in detail with regard to the previous day’s King’s Stand Stakes (G1) victor, Blue Point, Aljazzi is out of the listed winning Danehill Dancer mare, Nouriya. The granddam, Majestic Sakeena, is half-sister to stakes winners Sweet Story and Shy Lady, she the dam of five stakes winners, including Zafeen, who took the St. James’s Palace Stakes (G1) at the Royal Meeting. The fourth dam, Shy Dawn, is a graded winner from the Jacques Wimpfheimer family that did so well with her sire, Grey Dawn II, the most notable example being U.S. Champion Two-Year-Old Filly, Heavenly Cause.