ASCOT, BERKSHIRE, ENGLAND — The State Of Rest Partnership’s State Of Rest (IRE) captured his fourth top level prize in his fourth country with a front-running victory in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes (G1) at Royal Ascot that earned him a guaranteed start in the US$4 million Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1) through the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series: Win and You’re In.
The Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series is an international series of 82 stakes races whose winners receive automatic starting positions and fees paid into a corresponding race of the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, which is scheduled to be held at Keeneland Race Course in Lexington, Kentucky, on Nov. 4-5.
Royal Ascot’s first £1 million (US$1.2 million) race had attracted a small but select field. Last year’s Japanese Derby (G1) and 2022 Dubai Sheema Classic (G1) winner, Sunday Racing Co. Ltd.’s Shahryar (JPN), Sheikh Zayed bin Mohammed Racing’s Lord North (IRE),who won the race in 2020, and Haras De Hus’s mare Grand Glory (GB) and State Of Rest were all established Group 1 winners. But it was the only member of the field yet to win at the highest level, James Wigan and Ballylinch Stud’s Bay Bridge (GB), trained by Sir Michael Stoute, who went off the 10-11 favorite.
Lord North lost ground at the start when Frankie Dettori was unable to remove the runner’s blindfold until several strides after exiting the gate, but he was able to make it up thanks to the steady fractions set by jockey Shane Crosse on State Of Rest.
Crosse quickened the tempo from the two-furlong pole and though Bay Bridge threw down his challenge, he was unable to catch the leader. State Of Rest crossed the line a length in front of Bay Bridge with Grand Glory 2 ¼-lengths further back in third, Shahryar fourth and Lord North fifth. The winning time for the 1 ¼ miles was 2:07.79 on a course rated good to firm.
The Prince of Wales’s Stakes was State Of Rest’s fourth Group 1 success following wins in the Saratoga Derby in the U.S., Cox Plate in Australia, and Prix Ganay in France, while Joseph O’Brien now has the distinction of having ridden and trained the winner of the race – his 2012 victory on So You Think (NZ) was one of six Royal Ascot winners he had as a jockey.
O’Brien said: “Shane gave State Of Rest a fantastic ride. He is a very tough horse who has proved himself on the world stage again. We thought we had a really big chance to win if we could lead the race.
“He got a really good start and after a furlong we were very comfortable with how the race was stepping up. Shane got the fractions perfectly. The horse was very genuine and tough. I am very proud of both of them.
“I think it was a career best but he had trained really well and he was ready to run out of his skin today. We’ve had a bunch of horses placed here over the years so it’s very special that when the first winner comes it is in a race like the Prince of Wales.”
Crosse, enjoying his first winner at the meeting, said: “The plan beforehand speaking to Joseph was to uncomplicate things from our draw [one] in a small field. Fair play to State Of Rest. In the space of the last 12 months, this horse has done a lot. He has done it all and I am just over the moon.
“It is a dream. To get here and participate is a huge thing. To ride a horse like this in top-class races is a dream. You cannot describe it.”
State Of Rest was sold earlier this year to a partnership of breeders from both the northern and southern hemisphere, involving Australia’s Newgate Farm, China Horse Club and Ireland’s Rathbarry Stud.
As part of the benefits of the Challenge Series, Breeders’ Cup will pay the entry fees for State Of Rest to start in the US$4 million Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf. Breeders’ Cup also will provide a US$40,000 travel allowance for all starters based outside of North America to compete in the World Championships. The Challenge winner must be nominated to the Breeders’ Cup program by the pre-entry deadline of Oct. 24 to receive the rewards.
Breeders Cup Press Release
Photo: State Of Rest (Eclipse Sportswire Photo)