June 17 (UPI) -- The biggest race of the second day of Royal Ascot turned up a potential star of the future as Lord North kicked into gear in the final furlong of the Group 1 Prince of Wales' Stakes and gave the shake to a world-class field.
While the Prince of Wales' was the day's feature, the emotional highlight was Her Majesty the Queen's 2-year-old Tactical sprinting to a convincing win in the Windsor Castle Stakes as the monarch, barred from Ascot Racecourse by the COVID-19 protocols, watched from nearby Windsor Castle.
Lord North, a 4-year-old Dubawi gelding, was up against some of the most highly regarded middle-distance runners in he world as he stepped into Group 1 company for the first time in the 1 1/4-miles Prince of Wales'. With James Doyle riding, he waited behind them all through Swinley Bottom, the uphill climb and into the turn.
Doyle then had to alter course to get around some rivals as Lord North kicked into gear but, once in stride, he quickly put matters to rest and won by 3 3/4 lengths.
"The whole complexion of the race changed when Japan missed the break," Doyle said, referring to the race favorite, a 4-year-old Galileo colt. "We saved plenty of ground. He straightened up really nice and showed a great turn of foot.
"I'd like to ride him again, put it that way," the rider said with a big smile.
Second went to Addeybb, who was making his first start since winning two Group 1 races in Australia in March and April. Barney Roy, twice a winner in Dubai earlier this year, was third. Japan won two prestigious Group 1 events last fall before a disappointment in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe in October.
Lord North, by contrast, had not contested a Group race of any kind before winning the Group 3 Brigadier Gerard at Haydock on June 7.
Trainer John Gosden said he could not immediately plot out a campaign for Lord North for the remainder of the year, given the scrambled schedule resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic precautions.
"He's done well to make it back here. We'll look at all possibilities for him. When they've had two quick races, watch out," Gosden said.
The race was a "Win and You're In" for the Longines Breeders' Cup Turf on Nov. 7 at Keeneland.
The first three finishers in the Prince of Wales's are all geldings -- an extreme rarity for a British race of this quality, where stallion prospects are at least as important as purse money.
"This horse had to be gelded because he wasn't quite ready to play ball," Gosden said of Lord North. "He's a happy boy now."
If the name seems familiar, Lord North -- Frederick North, the second Earl of Guilford -- was prime minister of Great Britain from 1770 to 1782, during the time of the American Revolution.
The rest of Day Two:
The pandemic has forced Her Majesty the Queen to miss Royal Ascot for the first time in her reign as she and Prince Phillip have been self-quarantined at nearby Windsor Castle.
She and her racing adviser, John Warren, kept in close touch through the day with personnel on the racing grounds, however, and Her Majesty surely was all smiles watching Tactical's imposing win in the Windsor Castle, a 5-furlongs sprint for 2-year-olds. It was the Queen's 24th Royal Ascot victory.
With Doyle riding, the Toronado colt skimmed the stands-side rail right behind the early leader, eased by that one in the final furlong and won by 1 1/4 lengths. In his only previous start, he was third in a race won by Eye of Heaven, the early favorite for the Group 1 Norfolk Stakes on Friday at the same distance.
"It's just a shame she can't be here herself," said winning trainer Andrew Balding of the Queen. "With the routine stuff it is obviously John Warren we deal with, but on a race day we tend to give her a ring in the morning and tell her our thoughts, which I did this morning. So she was well informed. She will be thrilled, I am sure."
Doyle added: "It's what dreams are made of, to ride a winner for Her Majesty at Royal Ascot."
Two runners trained by American Royal Ascot trailblazer Wesley Ward disappointed in the Windsor Castle. Sheriff Bianco and Sunshine City both started well, but both then faded to finish eighth and ninth, respectively.
In the Group 2 Hampton Court Stakes for 3-year-olds at 1 1/4 miles, Coolmore's Russian Empire got the job done in the final strides for jockey Ryan Moore and trainer Aidan O'Brien, winning by 1/2 length from the favorite, First Receiver, another of Her Majesty's high hopes on the day.
Russian Empire, a Galileo colt, was second in the Group 3 Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial Stakes at Leopardstown in Ireland in his last start June 9. "He has a very good pedigree," Moore said. "His dam was exceptional in Australia. I think he will be a nice horse going forward for the rest of the year."
Asked about Russian Empire's Derby prospects, Moore added, "That will be decided. He will give himself a chance to stay, anyway."
The King George V Stakes for 3-year-olds gave Sheik Hamdan his fourth winner of the Royal Meeting and a potential Derby contender as Hukum took the lead a furlong out and held off Kipps to win by 1/2 length.
Hukum, a Sea the Stars colt, had a win and a second as a juvenile and was making his first start of the year. Jim Crowley notched his fourth win of the meeting, riding for trainer Owen Burrows.
Burrows hinted at a potential Derby run for Hukum.
"Hukum has got the profile and the breeding to be better than that," the trainer said of Wednesday's effort. "I am sure he will get further. ... I am sure we'll have a think about it [the Derby], and we'll go back and have a chat with Sheikh Hamdan.
"But as Jim [Crowley] said there, he is still very inexperienced. He just said he was lugging left a bit the majority of the way around so whether or not he will handle Epsom, we will see."
The Royal Hunt Cup and its "consolation" race, the Silver Royal Hunt Cup, attracted the usual gigantic fields.
Dark Vision, a 4-year-old Dream Ahead colt, landed the big race for Godolphin, trainer Mark Johnston and jockey William Buick. Sir Busker, a 12-1 chance, got the consolation race with Oisin Murphy up for trainer William Knight. In their last race, the Betway Handicap on the Newcastle all-weather course June 2, Sir Busker was the winner with Dark Vision a head back in second.
The day's finale was the Copper Horse Stakes, a 1 3/4-miles marathon added to the Royal Ascot lineup for this year only to give stayers another option. Fujaira Prince, with Andrea Atzeni up, emerged from the pack in the final furlong to win by nearly 4 lengths. The lightly raced Pivotal gelding was having his first go since finishing third in the Duke of Edinburgh Stakes at last year's Royal meeting.
Thursday's program includes one of the most-anticipated races of Royal Ascot, the Group 1 Gold Cup at 2 1/2 miles.
Stradivarius, a 6-year-old son of Sea the Stars, seeks his third straight victory in the event and fourth Royal Ascot win. Gosden said he is hoping threatened rains hold off as Stradivarius is at his best over good going.