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Highland Reel (Source: Racing/Sports Tweets via Twitter)
Highland Reel (Source: Racing/Sports Tweets via Twitter)

Highland Reel bounced back from the disappointment of Royal Ascot last season by claiming victory at the Prince of Wales's Stakes.

The Irish horse finished second in his first appearance at the famous racecourse as he was beaten out narrowly by Dartmouth in the Hardwicke Stakes. However, the five-year-old was able to respond on his return to the event with another term of experience under his belt, and he put forward an excellent performance to secure a comfortable victory.

Highland Reel went off at 9/4 with bookmakers including Sportsbet. Events such as Royal Ascot offer a diverse range of betting options for punters, but in a busy summer of action, you can pick your sport with to perhaps enjoy a flutter away from the track.

However, with horses displaying the great form that Highland Reel has shown, it's easy to see the popularity that a week at Ascot can bring, although the grind has been real for all involved in the Irish's horses development.

Aiden O'Brien's charge made his debut in 2014 and claimed back-to-back victories in his second and third race, starting at the Irish Stallion Farms E.B.F. Maiden and following that up with the Vintage Stakes.

It took over a year for him to secure his first significant crown, triumphing at Goodwood in 2015 at the Gordon Stakes as he delivered a fine performance to beat out Scottish by one-and-three-quarter lengths.

Following his victory, he travelled across the pond to compete in Arlington. The bay horse was not considered the favourite, but he clinched the victory over his American counterparts with a strong outing.

After disappointments in Hong Kong and Dubai, he came into the first meet of the English flat season at Ascot where he would face off against Dartmouth. Both horses displayed good speed throughout the contest, but Dartmouth just had enough down the final stretch to secure the victory by a head.

highland Reel (Source: Domcia 1998 via Twitter)
highland Reel (Source: Domcia 1998 via Twitter)

Highland Reel returned to Ascot for the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes and this time he did taste victory at the course. His pace was outstanding from start to finish, allowing him to canter down the final furlong to beat out Wings of Desire and his old foe Dartmouth.

O'Brien sent his charge forward for the Prix De L'Arc De Triomphe in Chantilly, and although the trainer himself had success as Found secured the win, Highland Reel just did not have the measure of the track as he finished second one-and-three-quarter lengths behind his stable-mate.

The Breeders' Cup allowed him to earn revenge of Found as he delivered another high-quality win without being considered the favourite for the meet.

His 2017 season started poorly at the Sheema Classic, recording a last-place finish in Meydan. However, once again he rallied at Epsom in the Coronation Cup, meeting expectations with a fine performance to beat out a talented field, defeating Frontiersman by one-and-three-quarter lengths.

The stage was set for his return to Royal Ascot with O'Brien favouring the shorter distance of the Prince of Wales's Stakes rather than the Hardwicke Stakes for his charge.

Highland Reel matched the pace of the leading pack before jockey Ryan Moore made his move down the final furlong, and the Irish horse responded with a surge of speed to take the crown.

O'Brien now faces a decision on the future of the Bay Horse, with the Coral Eclipse on the horizon and the prospect of facing Ribchester, Churchill, Barney Roy and Minding to enhance his legacy.

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