Free Eagle held off a furious rally by The Grey Gatsby to win the Group 1 Prince of Wales's Stakes by a short head at Royal Ascot June 17.
It was just the fifth lifetime start for the 4-year-old son of High Chaparral, who now has won three starts and never finished out of the money.
A field of nine went to the post in the Prince of Wales's, reduced by one by the scratch of North American Horse of the Year, California Chrome. At the start it was French raider Gailo Chop that went to the front to set the pace. Aussie raider Criterion tracked him in second, while Free Eagle sat just off the pace in third.
Gailo Chop continued to lead the field throughout the early stages of the race. As the field entered the home straight, Gailo Chop still clung to a narrow lead, but Free Eagle was under a full head of steam and quickly drew alongside. The two matched strides briefly, but Free Eagle soon overtook the longtime leader and moved into the lead.
With less than two furlongs to run, jockey Pat Smullen had Free Eagle under a drive and the pair opened up by a length on the field. The Grey Gatsby, who was stuck in traffic in the last part of the race, finally shook free and came with a late charge in the closing strides, but just fell short at the wire and had to settle for second.
Western Hymn finished third, another 2 3/4-lengths further back. Final time for the 10 furlongs was 2:05.07 over a good to firm turf course.
Free Eagle was bred in Ireland by his owner, Moyglare Stud, and is trained by Dermot Weld. He is fourth foal out of Polished Gem (by Danehill), and is a half brother to champion Sapphire (by Medicean).
Read more in the Racing Post
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