Updated on 09/17/2011 10:45AM

Nayef states his case at Ascot


Nayef was a decisive winner over eight other Group 1 winners in a high-class renewal of the $587,000 Prince of Wales's Stakes Wednesday at Royal Ascot, as Dubai World Cup winner Moon Ballad weakened to finish ninth of 10.

Earlier, Gary Stevens rode 20-1 shot Membership to victory in the Group 3 Jersey Stakes to record his first win at this year's Royal Meeting and the fourth of his career.

The 5-1 Nayef had been beaten into third, six lengths behind Moon Ballad, in Dubai and clearly relished his return to turf. He ran out a 2 1/2-length winner over last year's Italian Derby winner, Rakti, with Islington, the lone filly in the field, third, another length behind. Nayef's time on good to firm ground was 2:05.30.

Richard Hills put Nayef on the lead entering the 2 1/2-furlong stretch and was soon clear in a highly impressive performance. Taking into consideration his triumphs in the Dubai Sheema Classic and the Juddmonte International last year, Nayef is now in a position to challenge this year's Sheema Classic winner Sulamani for best older horse honors in Europe.

Trained by Marcus Tregoning for Hamdan Al Maktoum, Nayef foiled Godolphin's attempt to win a fourth consecutive Prince of Wales's. Neither Moon Ballad, who was rank early and led to the stretch, nor defending champ Grandera, who faded to seventh, was up to the task accomplished in previous years by Godolphin runners Fantastic Light and Dubai Millennium.

Nayef has either the Eclipse Stakes at Sandown on July 5 or the King George at Ascot on July 26 as his next assignment.

Moon Ballad was especially disappointing. Beaten by 12 3/4 lengths, he was without an excuse. He is being pointed to the Breeders' Cup Classic.

In the seven-furlong Jersey Stakes, Membership benefited from a perfectly timed ride by Stevens. A son of Belong to Me, Membership led a parade of Kentucky-breds across the line as Arakan and Rimrod finished second and third, 2 1/2 lengths and a neck behind.

"When I saw that Gary was available, I clapped my hands," said winning trainer Clive Brittain. "These American jocks all have a clock in their heads."

Stevens had Membership on the rail in the middle of the 14-runner Jersey, which is run on Ascot's undulating straight course. He shot Membership through a gap to lead 150 yards from the line, and Membership got the seven furlongs in 1:26.40.

Attraction led throughout as the 3-2 favorite to take the Group 3 Queen Mary Stakes for 2-year-old fillies by three lengths. Trained by Mark Johnston and ridden by Kevin Darley, Attraction covered the five furlongs in 1:00.56, .84 off the juvenile track record. Catstar made a run at her but was beaten at the furlong pole.

The Gulfstream-based America America, outrun early, made up some late ground to finish eighth of 14 with Stevens aboard.