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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); 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

Entries

Going/Track

Weather

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

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Alpha Centauri out of this world in Coronation Stakes

Jessica Harrington achieved her first Royal Ascot winner – not to mention QIPCO British Champions success – in style on Friday as Alpha Centauri powered to a runaway success in the Coronation Stakes.

The imposing filly, owned and bred by the Niarchos family, won the Group One feature by six lengths and in a course record time of 1min 35.89sec.

The Mark Johnston-trained Threading was her closest pursuer, with Veracious taking third. Billesdon Brook, the QIPCO 1000 Guineas winner, was fourth but Teppal, winner of the French equivalent, surrendered her unbeaten record – fading to be ninth.

Winner of the Irish 1,000 Guineas, Alpha Centauri  was one of three Guineas winners coming into the race, and on paper it looked a hugely competitive renewal. It proved anything but – Alpha Centauri looming upsides the leaders coming into the home straight under jockey Colm O’Donoghue and zooming clear.

“I definitely was very nervous today as I know she is a great filly,” Harrington said. “It was rather nice going into the Irish 1,000 Guineas as we were very much under the radar, she hadn’t run well on soft ground two runs before that – today we were there to be shot at.

“The ground is the key to her. As you see there, she is a very big filly – she weighs 520kg – and I think when she is on soft ground she physically can’t get her feet out of the ground. She just floats on top of the ground. What she wants is good ground, what she doesn’t want is heavy ground.

“Colm was very confident on her, she jumped well and settled great and when Colm turned in I thought ‘jeepers, he has gone very soon,’ but the further she went the quicker she went.”

A beaming Alan Cooper, racing manager to the Niarchos family, said: “I don’t need to tell you anything about Jessie – her record and her achievements tell you everything. It’s the Niarchos family’s third Coronation win and it is fabulous for our broodmares.”

As for future race plans, Cooper he added: “I have to talk to Jessie and Maria and Electra, but there is a race at Deauville in the middle of August that the family sponsors, it might be an option.”

O’Donoghue said: “Alpha Centauri was awesome. She travelled beautifully and moved great during the race. It am just very grateful to be riding her.”

Mark Johnston said he would consider the Falmouth Stakes for Threading, while Veracious may well be seen over further at some stage.

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.

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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