Under a relentless drive by Frankie Dettori, Godolphin's Rewilding overhauled So You Think within the shadow of the wire to claim a neck victory in the $655,660 Prince of Wales’s Stakes (Eng-I) at Royal Ascot June 15.
So You Think, a champion in Australia and winner of the Tattersalls Gold Cup (Ire-I) in his previous start, was sent off a short price to capture the Prince of Wales’s Stakes. The son of High Chaparral rattled off four straight group I victories in his native Australia before finishing third in the Emirates Airline Melbourne Cup (Aus-I) last November. He had won two straight stakes races in Ireland after being transferred to Aidan O’Brien’s barn over the winter.
Rewilding, a lightly-raced son of Tiger Hill, was last seen charging to a 3 1/2-length victory in the Dubai Sheema Classic (UAE-IT) on Mar. 26. A half-brother to champion Dar Re Mi, the Godolphin colorbearer finished third to Workforce in the 2010 Investec Derby (Eng-I) prior to winning the Great Voltigeur Stakes (Eng-II) last August.
A field of seven older horses went to the post in the Prince of Wales’s. Other contenders in the race included Twice Over, second in this race last year and winner of the Coral-Eclipse (Eng-I) and Champion Stakes (Eng-I), and Planteur, the Prix Ganay (Fr-I) victor in his last start.
Rewilding broke well under Dettori but was held up at the back of the compact field as Jan Vermeer, after a somewhat tardy start, was rushed to the front to set the pace. The 4-year-old colt set a brisk pace on the front end, opening up by as many as 10 lengths on the rest of the field. Debussy followed in second, with So You Think, racing somewhat keenly under Ryan Moore, tracking in third.
Jan Vermeer continued to sail along on an uncontested lead, but began to come back to the rest of the field as they entered the final turn. So You Think, who progressed into second earlier, shot to the front entering the straightaway and quickly opened up a two-length lead. Planteur and Twice Over tried to keep pace, but were unable to make up any ground on the new leader.
Dettori, who had kept a very relaxed Rewilding at the rear of the field, had now moved his charge into the clear on the outside and had the colt under a strong drive as they began cutting into So You Think’s lead. With less than a furlong remaining it became a two-horse race, with both riders imploring their mounts for all they had.
At the wire, Rewilding had edged past So You Think to post a neck victory. Longshot Sri Putra passed tiring horses to take third, another six lengths further back.
Final time for the 10 furlongs was 2:04.24 over the good turf course.
A delighted Dettori told reporters after the race, “When I got past him (So You Think) it was sheer joy. It was sheer joy to be in the race.”
“I’m delighted for Rewilding as he doesn’t get the recognition he deserves,” Dettori continued. He’s a very good horse and he showed his true colors today. They are two great teams (Ballydoyle and Godolphin) and we put our life and soul into the job and into the sport.”
Mahmood Al Zarooni, who conditions Rewilding for Godolphin, gave Sheikh Mohammed full credit for the victory, saying, “I have to be honest, it is not me, it’s him. It was his Highness’ decision (to drop back in trip). We are still learning and he has been racing in England for a long time -- more than 30 years.”
O’Brien was very candid with reporters after the race, and took full blame for his colt’s defeat. “It was trainer error. He had a long blow after the race and I don’t think I had him fit enough.”
Rewilding was bred in England by Sir Andrew Lloyd-Webber’s Watership Down Stud. He is out of the group I winning mare, Darara, and is also a half-brother to champions Diaghilev and Dariyoun.