Beverley Hero Rules at Royal Ascot

Proud owner Peter Swann was overcome by a "wave of emotion" after Prince Of Lir secured a memorable Royal Ascot victory that was warmly received by officials of Beverley racecourse.

The two-year-old son of Zodiac, trained in Newmarket by Robert Cowell, dazzled in the Group Two Norfolk Stakes over six furlongs with a half-length success over The Last Lion.

It was, too, a significant result for Beverley racecourse as Prince Of Lir also defeated the same rival on his debut in the Brian Yeardley Continental Two-Year-Old Trophy on the Westwood in May.
Prince Of Lir carries the Cool Silk Partnership silks of Swann, who is chairman of Scunthorpe United Football Club, and his mother-in-law, Barbara Wilkinson.

Swann said: "The whole family was at Ascot on the day and it was an absolutely fantastic experience. We've been waiting 18 years for something like this. You never know how you are going to react to a Royal Ascot winner, but the wave of emotion was almost too much. It was also exciting as I think the horse won in spite of the ground. We think he'd probably have won even easier if the ground had been a little better. Robert was a bit worried about running him at Beverley because of the competition in the field, but we made the decision to go and it worked out really well. The Beverley race was ideal for us as it came at the right time with Royal Ascot in mind."

Plans are now fluid for Prince Of Lir, who will be given a well-deserved break before his owners and Cowell formulate a gameplan.

Swann said: "He'll probably have an entry in the Molecomb at Goodwood but I think that will be too quick for him. There's also the Nunthorpe at York to think about and we might also look abroad, but there's no rush – and absolutely no pressure on us. We turned down an offer of three-quarters of a million pound for the horse, but it's not about the money. If we'd have missed out on a Royal Ascot winner we'd have been absolutely gutted. We bought him as a Norfolk horse, so we are just absolutely over the moon that the plan has come off."

The five-furlong Brian Yeardley - a £25,000 conditions stakes over five furlongs - has in recent years gone from strength to strength and was won last year by First Selection, who finished second in the French Derby in May.

Beverley chief executive Sally Iggulden was thrilled to see the Brian Yeardley form franked so convincingly at the Royal meeting. 

She said: "Prince Of Lir looks a horse of great substance who is surely going to enjoy many more halcyon days on the racecourse. The Last Lion is also a very exciting juvenile, so it was fantastic that Beverley formlines were brought into focus on the grandest stage of Flat racing in the world. We have worked very hard to try to attract the very best horses to Beverley, with the Brian Yeardley, the Hilary Needler and, of course, the Beverley Bullet firmly established on the racing calendar. The Hilary Needler and the Brian Yeardley also provide trainers and owners with a perfect stepping-stone from which Royal Ascot dreams can happily be realised."

Beverley's next meeting of what has already been a terrific campaign is on Tuesday, June 21.
The seven-race card is due to begin at 2pm, with the feature race being the Jamie Gordon The Big 40 Handicap (3.30) over a mile and a quarter. King Of The Celts won the race 12 months ago for trainer Tim Easterby and owner Dadie Oughtred, who is a long-standing director of Beverley racecourse.