ASCOT, BERKSHIRE, ENGLAND – World-renowned trainer Aidan O’Brien earned his 66th career Royal Ascot meet victory when his stateside even money-favored pupil Arizona took over late to sprint home victorious in Tuesday’s $192,000 Coventry Stakes (G2) at Ascot Racecourse.
Breaking well enough under Ryan Moore, Arizona settled comfortably into midpack while Monoski (toward the far outside) and Makyon (near the rail) led the field of 17 juveniles in the early running. With 2 furlongs to go, Moore positioned Arizona to Monoski’s outside and began urging him forward.
Finding his best footing once his field of vision was clear, Arizona hit the front along with Guildsman to his inside inside the final furlong. Digging deep, Arizona inched away in the shadow of the wire before crossing with a 1/2-length advantage over a late-running Threat. The bettors’ choice completed the 6-furlong sprint in a final time of 1:13.02.
“Arizona has impressed me on all his starts,” said Moore, who himself has now ridden 54 Royal Ascot winners, second-most all-time behind Frankie Dettori (60). “I think he is a high-class colt. He has a super attitude, but is not fully switched on yet and will probably benefit when he steps up in trip. He has come out of a maiden, so this was a different tempo, and you would have to be pleased with what he has done today.”
Threat nailed Guildsman by a neck at the finish for second placing after having to jockey around to avoid slowing foes in the final furlong. The American-bred Fort Myers did his best running late but could not do better than fourth over Golden Horde. The rest of the field crossed thusly: Ropey Guest, Royal Lytham, Maxi Boy, Well Of Wisdom, Kuwait Direction, Makyon, Lord Of The Lodge, King Of Athens, Majestic Sands, Light Angel, Monoki, and Coase.
Arizona’s win was his second straight and improved his young record to 3-2-1-0. The 2-year-old son of No Nay Never, out of an English Channel mare, has now earned $124,778 for the Coolmore trio of Mrs. John Magnier, Michael Tabor, and Derek Smith.
“I’m delighted with him and Ryan gave him a great ride,” O’Brien said. “He was very green first time out, and then won very easily next time, but probably didn’t learn a lot because of that, so this is the first day that he has had to learn. He was a little bit slow away and a little bit lost through the race, but came home really well. Obviously, he has loads of speed or he wouldn’t be able to win like that, but we always thought he would be a horse who would have no problem getting 7 furlongs.”
Arizona returned $4.40 to win and $2.60 to place, Threat brought back $3.80 to place, and Guildsman paid $5.20 to place.