06/21/2017 1:16PM

Highland Reel stalks, pounces in Prince of Wales's

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Barbara D. Livingston
Aidan O'Brien earned his 300th Group or Grade 1 stakes win in the Prince of Wales's

A patient Highland Reel proved too tough against a top-class field in Wednesday’s Group 1 Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot, providing trainer Aidan O’Brien with his 300th career Group 1 or Grade 1 stakes win in a flat or jump race.

Highland Reel has at times set the pace in his races, notably in winning the Breeders’ Cup Turf at Santa Anita last November, but was a stalker in the $955,000 Prince of Wales’s Stakes at 1 1/4 miles, the richest race of the five-day Royal Ascot meeting.

Ridden by Ryan Moore, Highland Reel was second behind the longshot pacesetter Scottish for the first mile. In early stretch, Scottish was challenged by Highland Reel, Decorated Knight, and Ulysses. Ulysses, fourth in the 2016 BC Turf, led briefly but was passed by Highland Reel, who won by 1 1/4 lengths over Decorated Knight, the winner of the Group 1 Tattersalls Gold Cup in Ireland in May.

Ulysses, who seemed poised to win in the stretch, was beaten a nose for second in the field of eight.

Jack Hobbs, the winner of the Group 1 Sheema Classic in Dubai in March, was the 2-1 favorite but faded in the final furlong and finished last. Trainer John Gosden said Jack Hobbs was not suited to the good-to-firm surface.

Highland Reel was the 9-4 second choice. A 5-year-old by Galileo, Highland Reel races for the Coolmore team of Derrick Smith, Michael Tabor, and Susan Magnier. The Prince of Wales’s Stakes was his 10th win in 24 starts and his sixth Grade 1 or Group 1 win.

Highland Reel won the Grade 1 Secretariat Stakes at Arlington Park in 2015 and the Group 1 Coronation Cup at Epsom Downs on June 2. Last July, Highland Reel won the Group 1 King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot, a race that could be on his schedule this year on July 28.

Highland Reel was the 56th career winner at Royal Ascot for the 47-year-old O’Brien, who began training in 1993.

American trainer Wesley Ward won his ninth career race at Royal Ascot with Con Te Partiro in the $101,920 Sandringham Handicap for 3-year-old fillies at a mile, the day’s final race. A 20-1 shot in a field of 24, Con Te Partiro finished 1 1/4 lengths in front of the O’Brien-trained Rain Goddess.

Earlier on the program, the Ward-trained Happy Like a Fool was second as the 10-11 favorite in the Group 2 Queen Mary Stakes for 2-year-old fillies at five furlongs behind 5-1 Heartache, who won by 2 1/2 lengths.