Royal Ascot: Prince Of Lir lands Norfolk Stakes for Morris


Prince Of Lir storms to give Luke Morris a breakthrough Royal Ascot win

  PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (  

Report: Royal Ascot, Thursday

Norfolk Stakes (Group 2) 5f, 2yo

PRINCE OF LIR held off The Last Lion in a repeat of the finish to Beverley’s Continental Trophy.

The son of Kodiac provided a first royal meeting winner for jockey Luke Morris, while trainer Robert Cowell celebrated a third success at the meeting but the first with a juvenile.

Morris, who was due to head off to Chelmsford and then Lingfield for the rest of the day, was in no doubt as to the importance of his success on the big stage.

Morris said: “It is a great buzz. You work hard and spend your mornings getting up early and it is days like this you work for really.”

Hard going at the finish

Prince Of Lir looked to be under pressure at the two furlong marker but, on ground that appeared to have gone a bit dead, fought bravely to get to the front before holding off his old adversary in a finish which unfolded up the stands’ side rail.

“He has only had one start and he is a little bit inexperienced,” said Morris. “Once he met the rising ground and got rolling he put the race to bed. I thought it was somewhere in between good to soft and soft. It has definitely dried out a bit.”

Cowell hails “pocket rocket”

The son of Kodiac was a £170,000 purchase at the Goffs Doncaster Breeze-Up sale and provided Cowell a Norfolk Stakes to go alongside two previous wins in the King’s Stand Stakes at the meeting.

“He is an absolute pocket rocket,” said Cowell.  “He is not very big but he is very well formed, very mature and has shown a brilliant attitude in the little time we’ve had him. He has been brilliantly prepared by the vendors who sold him to us.”


Hawkbill powers away from Prize Money to win the Tercentenary Stakes

  PICTURE: Getty Images  

Also on Thursday

Royal Ascot: Tercentenary Stakes (Group 3) 1m2f, 3yo

Godolphin landed a one-two in the Tercentenary Stakes when Hawkbill fended off Prize Money, to give the operation their fourth royal winner of the week.

Ballydoyle’s Long Island Sound finished third.

Fellow Godolphin contender Race Day cut out the early running, and when he faded entering the straight the always-prominent Hawkbill picked up the baton and stayed on tenaciously. 

The 4-1 joint-favourite Prize Money could make no impression in the straight while the other 4-1 joint-favourite, Abdon, was disappointing, making no impression after being held up.

The winning time was 2mins 09.59sec, nearly two seconds faster than Wednesday’s Prince of Wales’s Stakes over the same trip, which suggests the ground is drying out.

Winning trainer Charlie Appleby said: “He’s done a lot of travelling this horse and he couldn’t really handle it but he went to Dubai and did great over there.

“We didn’t know how good he was until he went to Newmarket and since then he’s thrived. It was a great ride from William and a great win for the team.”

Defrocked - Jamie Spencer

Jamie Spencer looks across to see if he has landed the Britannia Stakes

  PICTURE: Mark Cranham (  

Royal Ascot: Britannia Stakes 1m, 3yo

A thrilling photo finish decided the Britannia Stakes as Defrocked weaved from last to first to hold off a strong challenge from Abe Lincoln.

Stepping up markedly in class, the unexposed Jamie Osborne-trained gelding had to come right through the field after emerging awkwardly from stall 12. It was a superb ride from Jamie Spencer, who used all his experience to guide his mount back into the race.  

Travelling smoothly between horses, he hit the front with more than a furlong remaining and looked to have established clear daylight on the run to the line. However Abe Lincoln rallied on the stands’ side to push the Michael Buckley-owned runner right to the finish.

Perfectionist Osborne was delighted but clearly relieved their long term target had come off.  

“He’s got his quirks and he was probably in front too soon, but he’s won so that’s great. The race has been the plan since the autumn and it’s great when a plan comes off because they so often don’t,” he said.

The pair pulled two-and-a-quarter lengths clear of Chief Whip for Richard Hannon, and 66-1 chance Arcanada who held on for fourth.


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