Highland Reel Proves Best in Prince of Wales’s at Ascot

Magnier, Tabor and Smith’s Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf (GI) hero Highland Reel, who may be the most well-traveled racehorse in the world, having been to America, the Far East and Australia, returned home to Great Britain and captured the richest race of the current Royal Ascot meeting, taking top honors by 1 ¼ lengths in the  £750,000 (approximately $950,600) Prince of Wales’s Stakes (GI) on Wednesday afternoon over the Berkshire, England, oval

Highland Reel winning the Prince of Wales's Stakes (photo via Ascot Racecourse).

Highland Reel winning the Prince of Wales’s Stakes (photo via Ascot Racecourse).

With regular jockey Ryan Moore aboard, the Aiden O’Brien-trained son of Galileo, who left the gate at odds of more than 2-1, held off the late challenge from 10-1 outsider Decorated Knight, while 9-2 chance Ulysses checked in another short head behind the runner-up to claim third. Favored Jack Hobbs finished last of eight in the about 1 ¼-mile turf feature.

“I’d say that was probably a career best,” jockey Ryan Moore said.

Highland Reel picked up his sixth Group 1, to go along with his Breeders’ Cup score, the 2015 Secretariat Stakes, Longines Hong Kong Vase, Qipco King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes and Investec Coronation Stakes. Overall his record now stands at 23-9-6-1.

The winner’s check of 425,325 pounds ($540,000) moved Highland Reel’s earnings to 5.97 million pounds ($7.55 million). It was a first win of the 2017 meeting for O’Brien, and the trainer’s 56th at Royal Ascot.

“He has passed every test that you would want a thoroughbred to go through,” O’Brien said. “His first Group race was as a 2-year-old and we have toured the world with him since then. Every time, he turns up in big races over a mile, 10 furlongs and 12 furlongs.”

Margaret Ransom
California native and lifelong horsewoman Margaret Ransom is a graduate of the University of Arizona’s Race Track Industry Program. She got her start in racing working in the publicity departments at Calder Race Course and Hialeah Park, as well as in the racing office at Gulfstream Park in South Florida. She then spent six years in Lexington, KY, at BRISnet.com, where she helped create and develop the company’s popular newsletters: Handicapper’s Edge and Bloodstock Journal.

After returning to California, she served six years as the Southern California news correspondent for BloodHorse, assisted in the publicity department at Santa Anita Park and was a contributor to many other racing publications, including HorsePlayer Magazine and Trainer Magazine. She then spent seven years at HRTV and HRTV.com in various roles as researcher, programming assistant, producer and social media and marketing manager.

She has also walked hots and groomed runners, worked the elite sales in Kentucky for top-class consignors and volunteers for several racehorse retirement organizations, including CARMA.

In 2016, Margaret was the recipient of the prestigious Stanley Bergstein Writing Award, sponsored by Team Valor, and was an Eclipse Award honorable mention for her story, “The Shocking Untold Story of Maria Borell,” which appeared on USRacing.com. The article and subsequent stories helped save 43 abandoned and neglected Thoroughbreds in Kentucky and also helped create a new animal welfare law known as the “Borell Law.”

Margaret’s very first Breeders’ Cup was at Hollywood Park in 1984 and she has attended more than half of the Breeders’ Cups since. She counts Holy Bull and Arrogate as her favorite horses of all time. She lives in Pasadena with her longtime beau, Tony, two Australian Shepherds and one Golden Retriever.

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