Joseph O'Brien makes history at Royal Ascot

Irishman becomes the first person to win the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes both as a jockey and trainer

By Leslie Wilson Jr

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Saddle up: Shane Crosse, onboard State Of Rest, wins the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes at the Ascot Racecourse on Wednesday. — AP
Saddle up: Shane Crosse, onboard State Of Rest, wins the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes at the Ascot Racecourse on Wednesday. — AP

Published: Thu 16 Jun 2022, 12:00 AM

Ten years after capturing the Prince of Wales’s Stakes (G1), the showpiece race on day two at Royal Ascot, as a jockey, Ireland’s Joseph O’Brien returned to claim a slice of racing history when winning the prestigious contest as a trainer, with the globe-trotting State Of Rest.

It was also a landmark first Royal victory for the 29-year-old O’Brien, who, during his glory years in the saddle, booted home six winners at the summer showpiece before switching roles to take out a full trainer’s licence in June 2016.

All this was made possible by jockey Shane Crosse, who rode a confident race aboard State Of Rest to upstage a classy field that included 2021 Dubai Turf winner, Lord North.

The winner, who was completing a fourth Group 1 success following wins in major international races, among them, America’s Saratoga Derby, Australia’s Cox Plate, and France’s Prix Ganay, dictated proceedings in the 10-furlong contest from the start, to comfortably hold on for a length victory over Bay Bridge, with Glory Road two and a quarter lengths back in third. “It’s very special. It’s been a long time coming (a first Royal Ascot win as a trainer).’ O’Brien told ITV Racing.

“It’s special to get a winner here and not only a winner, but to win a race like the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes is hugely special.

“State Of Rest has proven himself to be a high-class horse. He is very versatile.

“It is a huge day and I am very proud of everyone at home. It’s very special. This is what it is all about.,’ O’Brien added.

“We love the game, we are born and bred into the game. It is all we know. To have a big winner here is what we do it for.”

Crosse, who was also celebrating his first Royal Ascot winner, said: “It’s surreal. It was amazing. What a horse and a super training performance from Joseph. I’m just so grateful to be able to ride him on a day like today.

“I listened to Joseph’s advice which is always going to mean a lot around here. It paid off.”

Lady Lucky deserted Dubai-owned horses with only Hafit coming close to prizing out a victory when narrowly beaten to third place in a thrilling renewal of the Group 2 Queen’s Vase, a 2,800 metre staying contest that takes its name from a gold vase donated by Queen Elizabeth in 1838.

The race was won by 2021 Saudi Cup-winning rider David Egan and the Roger Varian-trained Eldar Eldaroy, a horse named after the pro-MMA fighter from Bahrain and owned by Sheikh Khalid bin Hamad’s KHK Racing stable.

Other notable winners on the day included Saffron Beach in the Group 2 Duke of Cambridge Stakes and Dark Shift in the Royal Hunt Cup.

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