Sky Lantern wins Coronation Stakes in impressive fashion
Poor draw fails to hold back Richard Hannon’s grey filly at Royal Ascot
Richard Hughes on Sky Lantern stretches away from the field to win The Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot. Photograph: Paul Gilham/Getty Images
Sky Lantern defied stall 16 of 17 to run out a hugely impressive winner of the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot.
Richard Hughes made an early decision to drop the grey filly, winner of the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket on her most recent outing, in last from her outside stall and needed to pass every rival in the straight.
However, when he pressed the button the response was electric as trainer Richard Hannon got off the mark for the meeting in the best possible style.
French raider Kenhope was a distant second, with Irish Guineas winner Just The Judge in third.
Aidan O’Brien’s odds-on favourite Battle Of Marengo failed to live up to its billing as Ryan Moore produced a fine waiting ride on Hillstar to win the King Edward VII Stakes.
Investec Derby fourth Battle Of Marengo was sent off the 10 to 11 favourite for the Group Two over a mile and a half and jockey Joseph O’Brien made a bold bid for home.
The race looked over as Battle Of Marengo was a good three lengths clear of the pack entering the final furlong, but Hillstar made relentless progress on the outside to strike by a length.
Hillstar won by a length to provide trainer Michael Stoute with a second Royal Ascot winner of the week.
Mutashaded finished third, another two and a quarter lengths adrift of the winner.
Leading Light justified 5-4 favouritism for the O’Brien team later in the day when Disclaimer could not provide Warren House stables with a poignant winner of the Queen’s Vase, this year named in honour of the late Sir Henry Cecil.
The Lady Cecil-trained three-year-old had led turning into the straight, but faded tamely out of contention once headed. Leading Light soon went on but he had to find reserves for Joseph O’Brien to resist the strong challenge of Feel Like Dancing to land a gritty length-and-a-half success to give Ireland a record eighth success.
“It was a big step up in trip and we wanted to ride him to close to the place without committing as we weren’t sure about the two miles,” said the trainer. “He’s out of a Queen Mary winner (Dance Parade) though he is by Montjeu so we thought that would be a big help to him. He seemed to get the trip well and we’re delighted. He could run at any trip from a mile a quarter upwards and possibly be a Leger type. He might go back to a mile and a half for the Grand Prix de Paris on Bastille Day.”
Kiyoshi gave Charlie Hills his first Ascot winner in just his second full season when storming home in the Albany Stakes despite veering appreciably to the far side of the track. Hills stepped into very big shoes when taking over from his father Barry’s yard in August 2011 and is carrying on the family tradition as his many successes at this meeting included the Gold Cup with Gildoran in 1984 and ‘85.