Royal Ascot 2023

Sensational Mostahdaf stuns Prince Of Wales’s Stakes rivals

Mostahdaf (10/1) beat some of the best middle-distance horses in Europe with a sensational four-length romp in the G1 Prince Of Wales’s Stakes.

Having finished fourth behind Japanese star Equinox in the Dubai Sheema Classic last time out, the drop back to ten furlongs on summer ground proved an ideal set-up for Mostahdaf.

The Frankel five-year-old travelled all over his rivals under Jim Crowley before powering away in the final furlong to post a career-best performance.

It was a fifth success in the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes for co-trainer John Gosden, who first won the race in 1994 with Muhtarram, also in the Shadwell colours of the late Hamdan Al Maktoum.

It was a case of Mostahdaf first, the rest nowhere, with 2/1 favourite Luxembourg winning the battle for second. Adayar was half a length further back in third.

John Gosden said: “I was expecting Mostahdaf to pick up well in the straight but not to make them look like they were standing still. But he did that in Riyadh; he won the Neom Cup and just flew away. When the ground dries up, he’s a brilliant horse.

“We were going to run him in the Brigadier Gerard, but he hadn’t quite recovered from his Middle Eastern campaign. If you check the form book, he took on a certain Japanese horse [Equinox] in the Sheema Classic. And a mile and a half is beyond him – he’s a mile-and-a-quarter horse, but he was the one who put it up to them and gave it his best go, but what a horse the Japanese horse is.

“What’s the plan now? That might have been the plan! I always find the Eclipse comes too close. I’d wait for the Juddmonte International; that would be the race for me. He likes to run fresh – too many nights out on the town, we don’t bounce like we used to. I think the Juddmonte International should be the big target.”

Talking about Sheikha Hissa, Gosden said: “She has done amazingly. She rationalised the whole programme after her father died, bringing it all together. She’s here with her husband today – she’s recently married – and it’s a great achievement to put this together. Baaeed last year and this horse now, possibly worthy of going to stud as a stallion – that’s what it’s all about.”

Crowley said: “John and Thady have done an amazing job with Mostahdaf. He bolted in in Saudi over a mile and a quarter on fast ground. He didn’t quite stay against Equinox [in the Dubai Sheema Classic at Meydan] when he served it up to the winner, went after him and then got tired.

“John and Thady brought him back fresh and he was bouncing coming into the race today. A mile and a quarter on fast ground, he’s fantastic, and it’s great for Sheikha Hissa and her family who are here.

“It was a funny race and I had a couple of plans – I could have gone forward if Ryan didn’t go on Luxembourg and then I could have sat second to the American horse and maybe got first kick. From my draw, I went with Plan B, took a sit and it worked out really well. We went an even pace and he took he into the race extremely well. I may have gone for home too soon, but I didn’t want to disappoint him and he wanted to go.

“I didn’t expect him to win like that, although we’ve always held him in high regard. He’s a son of Frankel and probably only just coming to himself now. As you can see, he’s a big strong horse.

“He smashed the field in Saudi and he had those conditions today. I’m surprised how well he’s won against that opposition, but now we know where we are going with him in all those big 10-furlong races. Top of the ground is his gig.”

Luxembourg’s trainer Aidan O’Brien said: “He ran very well, we are very happy. The winner won very well. The plan was that we would have a look at the King George after today anyway, so it’s possible, but we will see how he is. He is always going to get a mile and a half well, as we know.”

Charlie Appleby said of Adayar: “The set-up of the race didn’t probably work out for Adayar and they went steady enough. Take nothing way from the winner, who has picked up well, but on that evidence it looks as though we will step back up to a mile and a half for the King George.

“We have always wanted to try and win over a mile and a quarter, because we know for his CV it would be a good feather in the cap. As we know for all those Derby winners, everyone wants to see them drop back to the 10 furlongs. We’ve tried, tested and unfortunately at the top level, we haven’t succeeded.”

4.20pm Prince Of Wales’s Stakes (Group1) (British Champions Series)

1 Mostahdaf (Shadwell Estate Company Ltd) John & Thady Gosden 5-9-02 Jim Crowley 10/1

2 Luxembourg (Westerberg, S Magnier, M Tabor, D Smith) Aidan O’Brien IRE 4-9-02 Ryan Moore 2/1F

3 Adayar (Godolphin) Charlie Appleby 5-9-02 William Buick 10/3

6 ran

*John & Thady Gosden – 61st Royal Ascot winner, including partnerships

Jim Crowley – 15th Royal Ascot winner

*John Gosden trained 55 Royal Ascot winners in his own name

Sectional times: