The Fugue wins Prince of Wales Stakes at Royal Ascot

Story highlights

  • William Buick rides The Fugue to victory in the Prince of Wales Stakes at Royal Ascot
  • Prix de l'Arc Triomphe champion Treve beaten into third by Magician
  • Buick: "She's an absolute star. She proved what she can do against top class horses."

The second day of Royal Ascot delivered a shock in the day's feature race, the Prince of Wales Stakes.

Some of those in the crowd at the Berkshire course had come to see the Queen, arriving, as she does every day of the Royal Meeting, by horse-drawn carriage from Windsor Castle.

Others had come to see the horse regarded by many as the queen of the turf: reigning Prix de l'Arc Triomphe champion Treve.

The French filly would be the first Arc winner to run at the Royal Meeting since 1989 winner Carroll House finished last in the following year's Hardwicke Stakes.

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Racing in the colors of Sheikh Joaan's Al Shaqab operation and ridden by Frankie Dettori, who got off to a flying start on the first day of the meeting, if she had looked carefully, Treve would have been greeted by a friendly face on her first trip outside France.

Located in the grounds of Ascot racecourse, nestled among the champagne bars, is a statue of her sire Motivator, formally owned by the Queen herself.

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It was in the face of these omens and no small measure of hype that the racehorse of the year for 2013 (an honor she shared with Black Caviar) took her place in the high-class field of eight.

The 8/13 hot favorite was aiming to become just the seventh filly to win this race. And indeed, a filly did add her name to the record books. It just wasn't Treve.

Racing in the colors of music impresario Andrew Lloyd-Webber, it was The Fugue, whose career has been characterized by stunning highs as well as heart-breaking lows, who decided to re-write the script.

The Fugue traveled brilliantly under regular jockey William Buick, streaking clear in the home straight to land the race in a course record time.

In second was Magician under Joseph O'Brien, with Treve crossing the line in third. The top three were all inside the old course record.

"She's an absolute star," Buick told reporters after the race. "She proved today what she can do against top class horses."

Her owner described it as the biggest win of his racing career.

But there was concern in the Treve camp that the sparkle she showed when capturing the Arc by five lengths was mysteriously absent. "She didn't feel like Treve," conceded Dettori.

"Her action on the way to the start was short and choppy and I knew in the back of my mind that I was in trouble."

Her trainer, Criquette Head-Maarek, concurred: "Her action was not right. Maybe we'll find something wrong. Let's take her home to Chantilly tomorrow and see how she is -- and don't forget the winner today is a good filly, too."

The Queen herself enjoyed a day of mixed fortunes. In the opening race, her horse Musical Comedy could only finish 18th after taking a keen hold early on. The race was won by Mustajeeb for trainer Dermot Weld.

In the Royal Hunt Cup, the day's major handicap, a fast finishing Sea Shanty managed a creditable 4th behind Field of Dream. Her filly Estimate -- heroine of last year's Royal Ascot -- will attempt to defend her Gold Cup title on Thursday.

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