Crystal Ocean and Magical finished 1-2 in the featured Prince of Wales's Stakes on the soggy second day of Royal Ascot Wednesday, potentially previewing further showdowns in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe and Breeders' Cup.
Jockey Frankie Dettori scored a double after being blanked on opening day while America's pioneering trainer, Wesley Ward, just missed adding to his victory total as Kimari finished second in the Queen Mary Stakes for 2-year-old fillies.
While the rain came and went, sometimes torrentially, Her Majesty the Queen arrived safely and relatively dry in her lead carriage, wearing an ensemble in a shade of blue officially termed "duck egg," with her hat adding purple and lilac flowers into the palate.
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Crystal Ocean sliced through a downpour to score a comfortable, 1 1/4-lengths victory over the favorite, Magical, in the day's feature, the Group 1 Prince of Wales's Stakes, giving trainer Sir Michael Stoute his 80th win at the Royal meeting and jockey Frankie Dettori his 62nd.
Hunting Horn made the early pace for his Coolmore stablemate Magical, the runner-up behind Enable in last year's Longines Breeders' Cup Turf. But as the field finished the climb up from Swinley Bottom, it was Crystal Ocean taking the advantage. In the stretch run, Magical, with Ryan Moore up, tried to get by on Crystal Ocean's outside, swung back to his inside and never got to even terms.
Waldgeist was third, Hunting Horn fourth. Sea of Class, last year's Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe runner-up -- behind Enable -- finished fifth, struggling with the soggy turf.
"I knew he stayed really well," Dettori said of Crystal Ocean. "So I kicked him early and the rest is history."
It was the first Group 1 win for Crystal Ocean, a 5-year-old son of Sea the Stars, an important consideration for a potential stud career. "He's very consistent," said owner Sir Evelyn de Rothschild. "Look at his record. And he can stay a mile and a half."
"He's a high-class horse and I'm delighted to have won a Group 1 with him now," said Sir Michael. NBC-TV analyst Britney Eurton later reported the trainer spoke favorably of a trip to the Breeders' Cup, saying Crystal Ocean was being pointed to that race last year before a training setback. The horse won a guaranteed spot in this year's renewal at Santa Anita as Wednesday's race was a "Win and You're In" event.
The potential for a rematch between Magical and Crystal Ocean, plus other international runners and some developing American turf specialists, promises to make the Turf a sparkling event.
Sea of Class also could be part of the equation for the Arc and the Breeders' Cup as trainer William Haggas said he was "very disappointed with myself" for sending the filly out in unsuitable conditions. "I'm extremely grateful to the jockey (James Doyle) for giving her as a kind a race as possible," he added. "I'm sure she'll bounce back."
Crystal Ocean, picture Liesl King
Also on Day 2 of the five-day Royal meeting:
In the Group 2 Queen Mary Stakes for 2-year-old fillies, Raffle Prize, with Dettori in the irons, eased by pacesetting American raider Kimari in the final 50 yards, winning by a head. The favorite, Final Song, was well back in third in the field of 25 2-year-old fillies.
The Queen Mary was run through driving rain and both Kimari and Raffle Prize went right on with it. Kimari, with John Velazquez riding for trainer Wesley Ward, made all the going in her first race on the turf. But Dettori, noting Raffle Prize had experience a furlong farther than the Queen Mary's 5 furlongs, had things timed perfectly and produced his filly at precisely the right time as he notched his 61st Royal Ascot win.
"I'm good friends with Wesley," Dettori said. "He's given me winners in the past. So it hurt a little bit to beat him." Ward said later, with a laugh, "I think that was a lie. He's a great guy and a good friend."
Winning trainer Mark Johnston said he was confident Raffle Prize, a Godolphin-bred daughter of Slade Power, is a good filly. "But all you can do is run your best here," he said. "You can't know how good she is in relation to the others."
Ward's other Queen Mary entry, Anna's Fast, finished 16th. After the race, Velazquez was handed a nine-day suspension and fined for overuse of the whip in the final 1 1/2 furlongs.
Ward also had two in the day's finale, the Windsor Castle Stakes for 2-year-olds, but neither figured in the outcome, finishing 15th and next-last of 21 runners. Instead, it came down to a battle between Coolmore's Southern Hills, under Ryan Moore, who just held off Godolphin's Platinum Star, with Christophe Soumillon up.
Southern Hills is a son of 2015 St James's Palace Stakes winner Gleneagles, himself a son of Galileo. Southern Hills was winless in two previous starts, finishing second to Air Force Jet in his most recent outing.
The Windsor Castle was delayed as Show Me Show Me broke through the gate during the loading process, ran most of the way back to the grandstand, doubled back and finally was safely corralled while nibbling some grass.
Move Swiftly did just that in the late going in the Group 2 Duke of Cambridge Stakes for fillies and mares down the straight mile, outfinishing Rawdaa by a desperate neck. The favorite, I Can Fly, was third.
Move Swiftly, a 4-year-old Farhh filly, bided her time under Daniel Tudhope. Just as it appeared Rawdaa would carry Dettori to his third win of the day, Move Swiftly was along to her outside to get the prize.
"I was a little bit farther back than I wanted to be," said Tudhope, who had two winners on the first day of the Royal meeting. "But good horses make it easy."
Haggas trains Move Swiftly, who now has four wins, three seconds and a third from eight career starts. It was her first start of 2019.
The Queen's Vase, with 3-year-olds going 1 3/4 miles, has produced champion stayers in the past and Wednesday produced Dashing Willoughby. The Nathaniel colt was drifting out into the middle of the track in the final yards but still got by Barbados and early leader Nayef Road to win by 1/2 length for jockey Oisin Murphy and trainer Andrew Balding.
"He's a son of Nathaniel," Murphy noted, "and he loved the soft ground. Remember, Nathaniel won a soft-ground King George."
"He's got a bit of talent, this horse," added trainer Andrew Balding. "We were really hopeful coming into the race and the rain certainly was in his favor. The St Leger is the logical objective. It'll be a lot tougher than this, but I think he deserves to be heading in that direction now."
Stradivarius, the dominant European stayer, won the Queen's Vase in 2017 and went on to win the Group 1 Gold Cup at Royal Ascot last year. Stradivarius is fancied to repeat the Gold Cup win in Wednesday's renewal but prefers ground firmer than the soft turf at this year's Royal meeting.
In the Royal Hunt Cup Handicap, Afaak overcame a long layoff and the soft going to hang on by a whisker over late-closing Clon Coulis. Raising Sand was third. Afaak, with Jim Crowley up for trainer Charlie Hills, raced in the middle of the 28-horse cavalry charge down the straight mile, took a daylight lead with a furlong left and just held.
"I wasn't sure. It could have gone either way," Crowley said. "We were not confident when the rains came. We were going on hope."
Afaak, a 5-year-old by Oasis Dream, was second in the 2018 Royal Hunt Cup, failed to crack the top two during the remainder of the season and was gelded after his 2018 seasonal finale.