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The Coronation Stakes

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Qemah and Gregory Benoist winning The Coronation Stakes
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History

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); Richard Hughes, 2 wins (2007, 2013)

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

Previous winners

Year Horse Jockey Trainer Owner Prize money

Entries

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

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Stunning Qemah swoops for France

Jean Claude Rouget secured back-to-back victories in the Group One Coronation Stakes following the decisive length and three-quarter victory of the Gregory Benoist-ridden Qemah.

The daughter of Danehill Dancer travelled nicely for Benoist in the mid-division before being unleashed on the outside inside the final furlong of the QIPCO British Champions Series contest.

The three-year-old, sent off at 6-1, displayed a potent turn of foot to quicken clear of her rivals and record a comfortable success, giving Rouget his second Royal Ascot winner and Benoist his maiden victory.

Her delighted trainer said: “Qemah is a top-class filly. She ran well in the French Guineas against some very good fillies. She showed real grit today and I am very happy.

“I was very confident after the French Guineas for this race because I prefer Qemah to run with a turn. I have no targets at the moment for her. We will look at the programme with the team, it’s too early to say where she will go next.”

Ervedya was successful for Rouget in the Coronation Stakes last year and was pleased to record another victory in the contest. He commented: “For me to the double in this race is like a childhood dream. I hope to get some more wins here because for me it is the best racing in the world.”

Harry Herbert, racing advisor to Al Shaqab Racing, owners of the winner, remarked: “Gregory got her settled today and that was important. She travelled with so much fuel in the tank today and she quickened like a really smart filly. She has beaten a wonderful field of fillies, it is fantastic and it has been a wonderful week.

“Sheikh Joaan [Al Thani, owner] is fantastic and there is a great team spirit. There is a good feeling of teamwork. Gregory is a great team man. Jean Claude has been wonderful and we are very lucky to win these races. The competition’s so hard but this week is one to remember and so far a year to remember.”

Benoist added: “The main thing with this filly is pace. We got that today and that is why she won. The last two furlongs were very exciting. I would like a really big drink now!”

Nemoralia, trained by Jeremy Noseda and ridden by Olivier Peslier, chased home the winner. The trainer would have preferred much faster conditions but said: “I can’t complain. The conditions were what they are; she’s run great, she’s finished second in a real good race. There will be days for fast ground and we’ll just look forward from here. We took a chance, and she’s rewarded us with a big run – I can’t ask more than that.”

Results

Position Horse Jockey Trainer Owner
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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.

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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.

Getting there

Ascot
Berkshire
SL5 7JX

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