The brave Love landed the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot on Wednesday afternoon as fellow 2020 Derby Festival star Serpentine prepares for a crack at Stradivarius in the Ascot Gold Cup.
Aidan O’Brien’s Oaks victor was not to be denied on her seasonal debut in Berkshire as she responded to Ryan Moore’s urges to gamely see off Breeders Cup heroine, Audarya.
Stable-mate Serpentine, meanwhile, is bridged with the biggest task of his career to date as he sizes up against three-time winner Stradivarius in the Gold Cup on Thursday, bidding for a first success since his epic win on the Downs 11 months ago.
The five-and-a-half length Classic winner was supplemented for £30,000 last week by connections and Ryan Moore has duly opposed last year’s Queen Vase hero Santiago in favour of the son of Galileo.
Seeking a quartet of days in the sun in the Group 1 contest, the legendary Sea The Stars seven-year-old Stradivarius has never been beaten at this trip and got back to winning ways at Ascot in April following his Champions Day bust at the end of last year.
He is now expected to reverse the form with Alan King’s Trueshan, who beat him out of sight at the Ascot track nine months ago, but in much deeper conditions.
John & Thady Gosden wouldn’t stand in Ballydoyle’s way on Wednesday, though, with Love’s mission made much easier by the withdrawal of 2020 Prince Of Wales’s gold medalist, Lord North.
The ground was deemed too quick for the charge aiming for a second victory in the race, but his absence left the door wide open for the now five-time Group 1 winner donning the infamous silks of Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith and Mrs John Magnier.
Her handler told the Racing Post in the aftermath: “We are absolutely delighted.”
“It was a little bit of a risk coming here [the] first time. Often, when you prepare them and don’t run them, it can be a little bit tricky.
“She was ready to run but wasn’t cherry ripe today. It was lovely to start her here on [the] beautiful ground. Where better to start?”
Speaking on where racing fans can be expected to see her next after Ascot, he said: “The lads will decide what they want to do. She can go anywhere really – the King George, the Eclipse, all those types of races.”