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The Coronation Stakes

3.00pm Ascot

  • Distance 1m
  • Class 1
  • Group 1
  • Prize money £400,000
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Another big day out for the best three-year-old fillies. The Coronation Stakes, indeed, is often a showdown for the winners and placed horses from the English, Irish and French 1000 Guineas. This Group 1 event, run over one mile during Royal Ascot, is the third entry in the QIPCO British Champions Series Fillies & Mares category.

The timing of the Coronation Stakes in mid-June, a month and a half after the QIPCO 1000 Guineas, allows these still maturing fillies that much more time to develop and strengthen up, so don’t always expect the 1000 Guineas winner to emerge triumphant again – another filly might have improved past her.

The race was established in 1840, commemorating Queen Victoria’s coronation two years earlier. Awarded Group 2 status in 1971, it was upgraded to the highest level in 1988. This is an event with a lot of Hills in it – that’s twin jockeys Richard and Michael Hills and their father Barry Hills, the trainer. Richard and Barry combined to bring Ghanaati home in 2009, while Michael and Barry did the same with Maids Causeway in 2005. Michael also won in 1997 on Rebecca Sharp, but she was trained by Geoff Wragg.

At the age of a remarkable 80 years, Clive Brittain saddled the winner in 2014, Rizeena.

Current leading jockeys: Gerald Mosse, 2 wins (1993, 2011); Ryan Moore, 2 wins (2014, 2017)

Current leading trainer: Sir Michael Stoute, 4 wins (1986, 1987, 1998, 2003)

Previous winners

Year Horse Jockey Trainer Owner Prize money




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


Watch Me springs surprise for France

French raider Watch Me was a surprise winner of the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot.

Much of the pre-race focus was on Aidan O’Brien’s Hermosa, who was the even-money favourite to add to her back-to-back Classic wins in the QIPCO 1000 Guineas at Newmarket and the Irish 1000 Guineas at the Curragh.

The market leader appeared well positioned for much of the mile QIPCO British Champions Series contest – tracking the pacesetting Pretty Pollyanna – but it was clear early in the straight it would not be plain sailing and, in the end, she came up short.

Having finished sixth behind the reopposing Castle Lady in the French 1000 Guineas on her latest appearance, Watch Me was a 20-1 chance in the hands of Pierre-Charles Boudot, but rounded the final turn travelling ominously well.

Once given her head, the daughter of Olympic Glory readily picked up the leaders and kicked clear for a one-and-a-half-length success.

Hermosa stuck to her task to finish second, with Jubiloso losing her unbeaten record but running with credit in third.

Watch Me was providing trainer Francis-Henri Graffard with his second Group 1 victory in the space of a week, having landed last weekend’s Prix de Diane at Chantilly with Channel.

Graffard said: “Obviously we were 20-1. It’s good for me with the owner – he said go and enjoy yourself. There is no pressure. We are an outsider. If we are third that’s a fantastic result, but like last Sunday I was behind my binoculars looking at the trip she had.

“She travelled really nicely and quickened very nicely to win well.

“I’ll have to watch the race again, but she took the lead quite early and never stopped.”

He added on future plans: “I don’t know what we’ll do with her. I didn’t enter her in the Falmouth. We had to see how she did today. She has the Rothschild in the summer. We’ll see how she comes out of the race.”

O’Brien said of Hermosa: “She ran very well. Ryan (Moore) said she ran very well and he was very happy with the run. He didn’t say anything else. We are not using any excuses.

“We will get her back home and see how she is and make a decision in the next week to 10 days. Her sister got a mile and a half, but you are never confident (they will get further), always hopeful.”

Teddy Grimthorpe, racing manager to Khalid Abdullah, owner of the Sir Michael Stoute-trained Jubiloso, said: “She ran really well. She probably just lacked a little bit of experience, but you have to be very pleased with that.

“Hopefully she can build on that and turn into the filly we thought she would be. They (rivals) were well seasoned and we know that. It was not the result we were looking for, but we will certainly have a lot worse days than being third in a Group One.”


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The Course

British horseracing can lay claim to plenty of blue-blooded connections, but none rival those of Ascot. The Berkshire racecourse’s roots go back 300 years to Queen Anne, who recognised the potential of a stretch of heath land while out riding just a few miles from Windsor Castle.

The royal link has endured ever since. Today, Queen Elizabeth II and members of the Royal Family attend the world-famous ‘Royal Ascot’ meeting each year, arriving in a horse drawn carriage. Royal Ascot, meanwhile, has earned iconic status as a centrepiece of the social calendar, when the world’s best thoroughbreds face fierce competition from the world’s most extravagant fashion designs.

Ascot, which underwent a £200 million redevelopment between 2004-6, also hosts the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes sponsored by QIPCO in July, the most prestigious open-age Flat race staged in Britain.

It will also host the inaugural QIPCO British Champions Day in October which will be the richest raceday ever staged in Britain with over £4.2m in prize money and the climax to the QIPCO British Champions Series.  Including the five category finales on QIPCO British Champions Day, Ascot stages no less than 13 of the 35 QIPCO British Champions Series races.

What sort of horses like Ascot? Horses that like right-handed courses. And what sort of people? People who like champagne and scones, apparently. During the five-day Royal Ascot meeting in 2010, 60,000 bottles of champagne and 40,000 scones were consumed. Lobsters, meanwhile, don’t like Royal Ascot – 1,500 of them were eaten over that same period.

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