Ascot: The Fugue confirms class with record win

Lord and Lady Lloyd Webber receive the Prince of Wales's Stakes trophy from Prince Charles yesterday. Picture: PA
Lord and Lady Lloyd Webber receive the Prince of Wales's Stakes trophy from Prince Charles yesterday. Picture: PA
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SHE was not the lady most expected to win the Prince of Wales’s Stakes but The Fugue gave another reminder of how she must never be underestimated after receiving a Royal Ascot coronation in a record-breaking time.

Treve failed to live up to her billing as the 8-13 favourite and is not the same filly who shone so memorably in last year’s Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, with Criquette Head-Maarek and Frankie Dettori convinced something was amiss with the eventual third.

Instead, it was yet another accolade from what has become the season of John Gosden, who raised The Fugue (11-2) from the depths of a poor run in the Dubai Duty Free to lift what will be one of the year’s strongest Group One events by a length and three-quarters.

Jockey William Buick was relaxed enough to allow Mukhadram’s pacemaker Elkaayed to set a furious pace as The Fugue took him effortlessly into contention with two furlongs left and connections even believed she had not even taken much out of herself by shrugging off Magician.

Gosden said: “It didn’t work, the trip to Dubai. We trained her in the winter and she was like a little bud that went tight, but now she’s flowered and she looks great.

“She got knocked over in the Oaks [two years ago], she got absolutely creamed and should have won, but she remains a very brave, lovely filly.

“Treve is a wondrous filly and I would not want to take on Treve on soft ground over a mile and a half in the Arc – I wouldn’t want to go near her, I think she’s unbeatable.

“But today was summer racing, a mile and a quarter on good to firm ground, and that’s the difference.”

The question was what to make of Treve, who failed to recreate her dazzling acceleration from last autumn, or perhaps even her respectable second to Cirrus Des Aigles on her reappearance at Longchamp.

Dettori said: “Going to the start she didn’t feel like Treve and, at the back of my mind, I knew then I was in trouble.

“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.”

The Fugue’s owner, musical impresario Andrew Lloyd Webber was witnessing his horse win in person for the first time.

He said: “We didn’t believe she would do this, but it’s the best day in our whole racing career. She’s had one or two dodgy days, but that can happen. Now she’s proved she is the best in the world!”

Aidan O’Brien was delighted with the effort of the runner-up and a return to Ascot for next month’s King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes could be on the agenda for Magician. He said: “He ran a stormer. He loves fast ground and plenty of pace.

“That [King George] is absolutely an option, because we know he gets a mile and a half.”

Ryan Moore chose the tenth race of Royal Ascot to announce his arrival on the big stage with a typically sangfroid ride aboard Integral in the Duke of Cambridge Stakes.

Integral broke the course record over the one-mile straight track.

L’Amour De Ma Vie was the only one of those prominent from the off to stay in the hunt, but she had little response once Moore went for home approaching the one-furlong marker. The five-year-old grey honourably finished second, but was two lengths away from Integral, with Purr Along finishing strongly for third place.