Coronation joy for veteran Brittain

Rizeena returns to her very best form under a fine ride by Ryan Moore

Rizeena ridden by Ryan Moore on their way to victory in the Coronation Stakes at  Royal Ascot yesterday. Photograph:  David Davies/PA Wire

Rizeena ridden by Ryan Moore on their way to victory in the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot yesterday. Photograph: David Davies/PA Wire

 
Clive Brittain

If the Englishman’s taciturn public face is defiantly more Piggott than Dettori, there is also a cold-eyed ability to sum up what’s required to win that evokes ‘Old Stone-face,’ an ability that was stamped all over Rizeena’s dramatic Coronation Stakes victory yesterday.

The filly has always been the light in Brittain’s eye but a poor run in the English Guineas preceded a non-appearance in the Irish Guineas due to slight illness, so the 80-year-old Newmarket trainer’s characteristic pre-race bravado couldn’t have disguised some inevitable doubts as he pondered possible scenarios for the Group One feature.

If no one could have anticipated the American hope Rosalind stumbling and unseating Kieren Fallon out of the stalls, the likelihood of a lack of pace can’t have been a surprise to anyone and there was an unfortunate inevitability about the already wound-up My Titania tugging herself to the front in the circumstances.

The big Irish hope eventually got a lead from J Wonder but the damage was done and John Oxx’s star ultimately did well to stay on into fourth.

Oldest truth

“I didn’t want to be in front that early but my hand was forced. It felt like a long final furlong but it’s great she’s come back,” he said.

That final furlong saw the French hope Lesstalk In Paris flash home too late under Christophe Soumillon while the outsider Euro Charline looked slightly unlucky in third.

“I wasn’t worried about the slow pace. They could have walked and she still would have won,” an ebullient Brittain said afterwards. “We covered every angle.”

Aidan O’Brien’s Adelaide was backed off the board for yesterday’s King Edward VII Stakes but came up against a real dark horse in the 12/1 Eagle Top who sauntered home in a style that even had John Gosden dismissing an attempt on the St Leger.

“You’ve seen that turn of foot and that class,” he said. “I don’t mind going fancy in the Autumn – but at a mile and a half!”

And no amount of angle-covering can cope with a rulebook that allowed Hartnell cross the track to bump the O’Brien trained Century in the final strides of the Queens Vase and yet hang on to the race.

Another major Irish gamble on the David Wachman trained Sexy Legs went astray in the Albany Stakes as Italian rider Andrea Atzeni secured a first ever Royal Ascot victory on board Cursory Glance who finished too strongly for Sunset Glow and Patience Alexander.

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