TORONTO, July 28, 2022 – British Royalty, a 4-year-old son of English Channel-Queen Martha, returns to Woodbine for Saturday’s $100,000 Niagara Stakes.
Trained and co-owned by Barbara Minshall, the bay gelding will take on 10 rivals in the Niagara, for three-year-olds and up, at 1 ¼ miles over the E.P. Taylor Turf Course, after making his past three starts in the U.S.
Bred in Ontario by Richard Lister, British Royalty, 24-1 winner of last year’s Breeders’ Stakes, the final jewel in the Canadian Triple Crown, arrives at his latest engagement off a fourth-place finish in the 1 ½ mile turf Grand Couturier Stakes on July 8 at Belmont.
Prior to that effort, British Royalty posted consecutive runner-up finishes starting with his seasonal debut in a 1 ½ mile grass race at Keeneland in April to kick off his 2022 campaign, followed by a second to Loft (GER) in the 2-mile Belmont Gold Cup Stakes on June 10.
“I thought he ran a very good race in the Belmont Gold Cup,” said Minshall, who co-owns with Bruce Lunsford. “He was a little compromised leaving the gate, but I thought it was a very good effort. In the Grand Couturier, it was only a five-horse field, but it wasn’t the cleanest trip at the end of the race. He had to swing wide. He was going up the fence and there was no way he was going to get through there, but he still ran a really good race. It doesn’t matter the size of the field, you can still have trouble even after a mile and a half. But both races, he ran really well and he’s in good order.”
Given the distance of his past three starts, could the Niagara be too short for British Royalty?
“I was thinking about that,” offered Minshall, Canada’s champion trainer of 1996. “You could say this race is almost too short for him. I’ve been trying to get him really sharp in knowing that this race could be too short. It’s coming back a little quick, but we don’t really have anywhere to go right now, so we’ll take a shot at it. He can just come out of the barn and walk right over.”
Sporting a mark of 2-3-0 from 13 starts, British Royalty debuted on October 11, 2020, rallying to win the one mile and 70-yard Tapeta race at Woodbine by 1 ¾ lengths at 9-1.
Minshall, who lost the horse to a claim on last July 11 and then claimed him back 13 days later, will see the lifetime earner of $354,641 (U.S.) make his sixth lifetime stakes appearance and fifth in past six starts.
“He’s matured a lot in the last year, but that seems to be the case with English Channels, they get better as they get older. He used to be a little ‘zig-zaggy’ in his races, regardless of what the jockey was doing. He was a little bit difficult to ride, but he’s really matured into a very nice racehorse.”
British Royalty will be reunited with Patrick Husbands, who piloted him to victory in the Breeders’ Stakes.
“Patrick knows him, so he’ll sit wherever he needs to be. And this might be the horse’s last start until the fall. He does like a little softer ground, so we’ll get him ready for this race and then map out the plan for the fall.”
Mighty Heart, two-time Canadian Horse of the Year, multiple graded stakes winner Frosted Over, and Town Cruise, last year’s Ricoh Woodbine Mile winner, are also entered to run.
The Niagara is race eight on Saturday’s 10-race card. First post time is 1:00 p.m. Fans can watch and wager on all the action via HPIbet.com and the Dark Horse Bets app.
$100,000 NIAGARA STAKES
Post – Horse – Jockey – Trainer
1 – Like the King – Rafael Hernandez – Mark Casse
2 – Collective Force – Antonio Gallardo – Rachel Halden
3 – Mighty Heart – Justin Stein – Josie Carroll
4 – Cibolian – Declan Carroll – Rodolphe Brisset
5 – Keyflower (FR) – Sahin Civaci – Mark Casse
6 – British Royalty – Patrick Husbands – Barbara Minshall
7 – Sir Sahib – Leo Salles – Denyse McClachrie
8 – Primo Touch – David Moran – Harold Ladouceur
9 – Who’s the Star – Rafael Hernandez – Mark Casse
10 – Frosted Over – Luis Contreras – Mark Casse
11 – Town Cruise – Daisuke Fukumoto – Brandon Greer