Sky Lantern wins Coronation Stakes in impressive fashion
Poor draw fails to hold back Richard Hannon’s grey filly at Royal Ascot
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.
Kiyoshi (8-1) put the race to bed decisively when she hit the front, but she hung right across the track. Thankfully for her supporters he was far enough clear not to lose the race or hamper any of her rivals and got home by three and a quarter lengths from the heavily-backed 7-4 favourite Sandiva.
Frankel’s half-sister Joyeuse stayed on strongly for third, just a neck away.
“She was a bit free at the start, but Jamie gave her a lovely, patient ride and there was plenty of pace up front,” said Hills. “She is very laid-back, he gave her a little squeeze. She took off and almost got there too soon. She was breathtaking and showed some turn of foot. We’ll see how she comes out of the race. We’ll have a look at Newmarket for the Cherry Hinton.
Champion jumps trainer Nicky Henderson got on the Royal Ascot scoresheet when Forgotten Voice (12-1) struck in the Wolferton Handicap — his first start on the Flat for 1060 days.
Winner of the Royal Hunt Cup in 2009 for Jeremy Noseda, he was off the track for the best part of two years before returning to action with a win over hurdles at Bangor last July.
Ridden by Johnny Murtagh, who was on board for the Hunt Cup win, he burst through up the inside to hit the front inside the final furlong and score by half a length from Sheikhzayedroad. Henderson said: “He’d had a good winter, I know he’d not run on the Flat, but we kept him ticking over and put him through some starting stalls the other day and he came out like a bullet.
Kevin Ryan’s booking of Neil Callan a month ago paid off as the jockey brought home Lightning Cloud (25-1) to take the Buckingham Palace Stakes. The combination struck with Uhoomagoo in 2006 and Callan also won this race on Eton Forever for Roger Varian 12 months ago,
The grey burst clear inside the final furlong to win by a length and a quarter from Dream Team.
“Neil and I go back a long way. I booked him a month ago as I thought he would suit this horse,” said Ryan. “We had a few things wrong with this horse and we put a few things right in the last three weeks. I’m delighted for Hambleton Racing (owners). They’ve been great supporters of mine for eight years.”