ASCOT, BERKSHIRE, ENGLAND – Sir Evelyn de Rothschild’s Crystal Ocean took yet another strong step forward in 2019 by winning the biggest race of his career to date on Wednesday, the Prince of Wales’s Stakes (G1) that toplined Day 3 of the Royal Ascot meet at Ascot Racecourse.
The Prince of Wales’s Stakes is a Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” event, with Crystal Ocean receiving an automatic berth in the Longines Turf at Santa Anita Park on Saturday, November 2.
Breaking from post 1 while under Frankie Dettori for the first time, Crystal Ocean sat closely in second within a pair of lengths of early leader Hunting Horn. With 4 furlongs remaining, Dettori placed Crystal Ocean a lane off of the rail and soon began advancing alongside of the pacesetter.
At the top of the stretch, Crystal Ocean floated out to the middle of the lane and began drawing away. The 6/5 stateside favorite Magical, undefeated through three starts this year, soon came under a drive to try and catch the new leader. Inside the final furlong, it was a two-horse sprint to the finish, with Magical trying to dance around Crystal Ocean but failing to come alongside him.
In the end, Crystal Ocean with a 1 1/4-length advantage in a final time of 2:10.26 for the 10-furlong event.
“I knew Crystal Ocean stayed really well, so I kicked on early and did not hear anything coming,” Dettori said. “The rest is history. Everything went to plan – I sat where I wanted to sit and kicked early to use his stamina. He was full of running and I felt it was going to take a good one to get past me. He’s an ultra-consistent horse, he’s a heavyweight of the sport, never runs a bad race. The race went exactly as I thought. I thought I’d better kick round the turn and use my stamina, and in fairness, he stuck his head out and galloped right to the line.”
Despite suffering her first loss of the year, Magical was well-clear of Waldgeist in third. The rest of the field crossed thusly: Hunting Horn, Sea Of Class, Deirdre, Zabeel Prince, and Desert Encounter.
Crystal Ocean’s win was his third in as many 2019 starts and improved his career record to 15-8-5-2. The 5-year-old son of Sea The Stars has performed well in every Ascot appearance, sporting a 5-2-2-1 local line that includes winning last year’s Hardwicke Stakes (G2) and finishing third in the 2017 King Edward VII Stakes (G2).
“Crystal Ocean is a high-class horse and I am delighted to have won a Group 1 with him now,” said trainer Sir Michael Stoute after winning his 80th Royal Ascot meet event. “He is just a very admirable racehorse. It’s marvelous to train a Group 1 horse like this. He may be better over a mile and 1/2, but I felt he was a pretty good horse over 10 furlongs, and he proved that today.”
Crystal Ocean returned $8.20 to win and $2.40 to place, Magical brought back $2.20 to place, and Waldgeist paid $3 to place.