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The Investec Coronation Cup

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History

The opening middle-distance race in the QIPCO British Champions Series, the Investec Coronation Cup provides the perfect opportunity to see some of the best older horses (four-year-olds and up) contest their first big mile-and-a-half (2,400 metres) race of the season.

Its field regularly includes runners that featured in the Investec Derby or Oaks, run over the same course and distance but for three-year-olds only, in preceding seasons. Irish trainer Aidan O’Brien is clearly a devotee, with a remarkable seven wins in the last nine renewals, including a 2005 victory with Yeats – the only horse ever to win the Ascot Gold Cup four times in a row.

Fame and Glory, the 2009 Irish Derby winner, came home for O’Brien in 2010 and he won the race with St Nicholas Abbey three years in succession in 2011, 2012 and 2013, a record for the race. The remarkable Cirrus des Aigles was triumphant in 2014.

Leading French trainer, Andre Fabre, has also had remarkable success in the race with six victories – his best record in a British race.

This Group 1 event dates back to 1902 when it was established as a commemoration of King Edward VII’s coronation.

Current leading jockey: Frankie Dettori, 4 wins (1996-7, 1999, 2001)
Current leading trainers: Aidan O’Brien, 7 wins (2005, 2007-8, 2010-13)

Previous winners

Year Horse Jockey Trainer Owner Prize money

Entries

Going/Track

Weather

No/Draw Horse/Jockey Age Form/Type BHA Rating Weight Trainer Odds

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Highland Reel soars to new heights

Highland Reel bounced back to his battling best to land the Group One Investec Coronation Cup at Epsom.

Aidan O’Brien‘s horses had to endure an arduous journey to Epsom Downs after their plane was delayed leaving Ireland and Highland Reel arrived the course just 75 minutes before the QIPCO British Champions Series race was due off.

The plane’s fuel cap was missing and fuel was spilling out over the wing.

There were no such dramas in the £420,000 event as jockey Ryan Moore elected to make the running with the five-year-old and made every post a winning one with a fine front-running ride.

The 9-4 favourite was briefly challenged by Hawkbill two furlongs from home but both Moore and Highland Reel dug deep and the pair stayed on strongly as Hawkbill’s challenge weakened, which left the fast-finishing Frontiersman to stay on to claim the runner-up spot.

Moore was full of praise for Highland Reel’s battling qualities following the race.

“He’s been a great horse for connections and a great horse to be associated with,” the jockey said. “He’s tough more than anything. He always finds more when you ask him. He’s just a pleasure to ride.”

O’Brien was winning his eighth Investec Coronation Cup and outlined the day Highland Reel had endured because of the plane problems.

“He never showed any softness in his life. He’s been travelling since 4am this morning and has only been here an hour,” the trainer said. “He didn’t have a lot of time to do anything – he had his piddle, got washed off and then came into the paddock.

“Things weren’t going smoothly but everyone was doing their best and did a great job. Thanks to everybody involved.

“Highland Reel is an amazing horse. Tactically, he has speed and he stays. He’s very versatile. He could run in the Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot if he needs it and maybe then on to the King George.”

Charlie Appleby was delighted with the performance of his Godolphin-owned duo Frontiersman, who had been supplemented for £25,000, and Hawkbill.

The former will be considered for the Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot while he will seek softer ground for Hawkbill.

“I’m not going to keep boring people with the same story, but he needs soft ground,” Appleby said. “It wouldn’t worry me coming back in trip either and William [Buick, jockey] said he’s got a gear there but the winner [Highland Reel] is a good horse.

“What this horse does do is quicken on soft ground and that catches a few of the others out, he can’t do the same on this ground.”

Results

Position Horse Jockey Trainer Owner
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The Course

If it weren’t for the 12th Earl of Derby, perhaps Epsom would be best known for natural mineral water, London commuters or bath salts. That or the fact that Led Zepplin’s Jimmy Page came from the Surrey town. As it is, Epsom stands for horseracing, and the Investec Oaks and the Investec Derby in particular.

The earl invited his friends to race their fillies on the Epsom Downs in 1779 and thus The Oaks was born. A year later and a second race, for colts and fillies, was introduced. A toss of a coin and it became known as The Derby (if the earl’s friend, Sir Charles Bunbury, had called right then flat racing’s Blue Riband event might today be called ‘The Epsom Bunbury’).

The racecourse has witnessed some of the sport’s most glorious moments, with Nijinsky, Mill Reef and Shergar among the horses to enter the winner’s enclosure. It has also seen tragedy, however, when suffragette Emily Davison threw herself in front of King George V’s horse Anmer in 1913 and died of a fractured skull.

Getting there

Epsom Downs
KT18 5LQ

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