easily handled a stellar field in the Prince of Wales's Stakes (Eng-I) June 18 at Royal Ascot, winning in course record time over Magician
, while European Horse of the Year and heavy favorite Treve
struggled in for third.
Settled into an easy stride off the early pace, The Fugue had a willing response when William Buick gave the winning mare the cue. She powered past front-runner Elkaayed and Magician in the straight to win by 1 3/4 lengths, lowering the course standard for 1 1/4 miles to 2:01.90 on good to firm ground.
Star French filly Treve finished another length behind Magician in her second successive loss since a dazzling victory in last fall's Qatar Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe (Fr-I), possibly finding the ground at Ascot too fast and the distance too short.
A daughter to Dansili, 5-year-old The Fugue tallied a fourth group I victory and sixth overall from 16 career starts for owner-breeder Lord Andrew Lloyd-Webber, the noted composer, and trainer John Gosden.
The Fugue was 11-2 with Racing Post
for the Prince of Wales's after finishing a lackluster 11th, beaten 26 lengths in the Dubai Duty Free (UAE-I) March 29 at Meydan in her 2014 debut. In her penultimate start last year she was caught late by Magician and beaten a half-length when second in the Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IT) in November at Santa Anita Park
. She was third in last year's Prince of Wales's to Al Kazeem
, the 2013 Dubai World Cup (UAE-I) runner-up who finished fourth behind Treve in this year's edition.
With The Fugue reserved in midfield, Elkaayed led soon after the start and had a 10-length advantage with a half-mile to run. Magician, tracking in third, closed to challenge a quarter-mile out as Treve made her move from sixth for Frankie Dettori, angling out for the stretch run then moving in. Traveling well for Buick, The Fugue smartly quickened to dispatch Magician with a furlong to run and secured the victory inside the final sixteenth.
Although the distance and course conditions may have compromised Treve's chances, Dettori said he had concerns about the filly the going to the start.
"She didn't feel like Treve and at the back of my mind I knew then I was in trouble," he told England's Press Association.
"I was hoping in the race she would loosen up and warm up, but I knew my fate at the three-furlong marker. She ran a good third, but it's not the Treve we all know.
"Something is definitely wrong, and what's wrong was before the race."
An unlucky third in the 2012 Investec Epsom Oaks, The Fugue has developed into a top-class runner, going on to victories in that season's Nassau Stakes (Eng-I) at Goodwood and the 2013 Yorkshire Oaks (Eng-I). She had a convincing win over males in the Irish Champion Stakes (Ire-I) prior to the Breeders' Cup.
"She's been an absolute star for me and everyone back at the yard," Gosden said to the English press. "She proved today what she can do against top-class horses.
"When she gets an uncomplicated run it's no bother to her. When she has a clear run at them she's lethal."
The Fugue was bred in the name of Webber's Watership Down Stud out of the Sadler's Wells mare Twyla Sharp, a half sister to group I winner Compton Admiral and Summoner.
Trainer Criquette Head-Maarek said Treve will be pointed to longer races with a bid to win the Arc a second time her ultimate goal this year.
"I am going to put her in longer distance races as they'll go slower and it will be easier for her," she said. "It is the 18th of June today—the Battle of Waterloo. It is just a French defeat."