French raider Byword led a Khalid Abdullah one-two by holding off a charging Twice Over to take the Prince of Wales’s Stakes (Eng-I) by a half-length at Royal Ascot June 16.
The 5-2 favorite provided jockey Maxime Guyon with his first winner in his very first ride in England. The 22-year-old jockey has been red-hot so far this season, having captured the both the Poule d’Essai des Poulains (Fr-I) and Prix du Jockey Club (Fr-I) with Lope De Vega.
The John Gosden-trained Tazeez went straight to the front under jockey Tadhg O’Shea, with stablemate Debussy and German raider Wiener Walzer in close pursuit. Byword tracked the leaders in fourth, while Twice Over was held up toward the rear of the field by jockey Tom Queally.
As the field entered the home straight, Guyon asked Byword for a bit more, and the response was immediate, as the chestnut colt took over the lead from Tazeez with a furlong to run.
Twice Over was starting to make progress from the rear, but encountered some traffic trouble and was slightly hampered. Once in the clear, Twice Over came thundering down the center of the course but was no match for Byword, coming up a half-length short.
Tazeez held on strongly for third, another three-quarters of a length further back. The final time for the 10-furlong contest was 2:05.35 over the good to firm turf.
Winning trainer Andre Fabre, who captured this race in 2007 with the brilliant Manduro, said of Byword after the race, “I knew the horse had the ability. He’s a very good horse. He matured from three to four, and last year he got a virus and he’s just coming to himself.”
Of his young jockey Fabre said, “He has nerves and he is young, which I always like. He rides all the horses at home and knows what they want, and he doesn’t use his whip a lot, which is what I like.”
An elated Guyon told reporters, “I’m absolutely delighted to have been given the opportunity to ride here today by Mr. Fabre. I never thought it would happen. Everything went perfectly in the race, and I’m delighted."
A clearly disappointed Henry Cecil, trainer of Twice Over, said after the race, “He ran very well but he just couldn’t get out. He got locked in too far back. We wanted to be handy, it was such a mess up. I hope to go for the Champion Stakes (Eng-I) but it’s up to Prince Khalid.”
Byword added another group I victory to an already impressive list for owner Khalid Abdullah and Juddmonte Farm so far this season. In Europe, Juddmonte runners have captured the Investec Derby (Eng-I, Workforce), the Poule d’Essai des Pouliches (Fr-I) and StanJames.com One Thousand Guineas (Eng-I, both won by Special Duty).
In North America, the Juddmonte brigade has been led by Byword’s 5-year-old half-sister, Proviso, who has won both the Just a Game Stakes (gr. IT) and the Frank E. Kilroe Mile Handicap (gr. IT) so far this year.
Byword now boasts a record of five wins from eight career starts. He is a 4-year-old colt by Peintre Celebre out of Binche, by Woodman, and was bred in England by his owner.