California Chrome looks likely to lead a strong international challenge in this year’s Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot.
‘America’s Horse’, a son of Lucky Pulpit, was recently second in the Dubai World Cup and is already in the UK ahead of the Royal Meeting. He is being stabled in Newmarket with Rae Guest as he acclimatises to his new surroundings ahead of his debut on British soil.
“California Chrome has been doing everything right as his build up to Royal Ascot continues,” Guest commented on his website.
“He is moving well and we are pleased with his progress.”
Named 2014 Horse of the Year in the United States after famous victories in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, California Chrome has developed a huge fanbase in his homeland.
Royal Ascot is set to be a new challenge for the American superstar, racing outside of his country, although he does have a grade one win on turf in the US to his name.
With California Chrome set to feature, this year’s renewal is set to be one of the most intriguing and exciting of recent times. His challengers will come in the form of Japan’s Spielberg (Kazuo Fujisawa), winner of the Group One Tenno Sho in November, defeating Japan’s Horse Of The Year Gentildonna, and Australia’s Criterion (David Hayes), winner of the Group One Longines Queen Elizabeth Stakes at The Championships in Sydney earlier in the year.
Ireland’s emerging star, Free Eagle (Dermot Weld), Ascot regular and French stalwart Cirrus Des Aigles (Corine Barande-Barbe) and The Grey Gatsby (Kevin Ryan), trained in the UK to win the Irish Champion Stakes last year, are amongst a strong European contingent who could line up.
The Prince of Wales’s Stakes was established in 1862 - named in honour of the Prince of Wales at that time, who went on to become King Edward VII. The race was discontinued after World War II, when there was no Prince of Wales before returning in 1968, a year before the investiture of Prince Charles.
The most recognised achievement in this race lies with John Porter, the leading trainer of the Victorian era. Porter won the race eight times from 1888 to 1905, making this the race in which he had the most success over his 40-year career.
The contest has proved pivotal in the career of those in the saddle too. Joseph O’Brien, who rides for his father Aidan O’Brien, rode his first Royal Ascot winner So You Think in 2012, while jockey James Doyle enjoyed the finest day of his career in 2013 as he guided Al Kazeem to victory, as part of a treble. Last year, it was William Buick on board The Fugue, for owner Andrew Lloyd Webber and trainer John Gosden, who triumphed.