Updated on 09/15/2011 1:28PM

Banks Hill triumphs in Coronation Stakes


ASCOT, England - Banks Hill produced a scintillating stretch run to win the Group 1 Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot on Friday.

Unlucky to have lost the French 1,000 Guineas when beaten by Rose Gypsy, Banks Hill flew past five fillies in the stretch under French champion rider Olivier Peslier.

Crystal Music, a 4-1 co-favorite along with Banks Hill, had looked like the winner at the furlong pole but she was no match for Banks Hill, a full sister to last year's Breeders' Cup Mile third-place finisher Dansili.

The winning margin was 1 1/2 lengths. Crystal Music finished half a length in front of Tempting Fate, who was third. The 1,000 Guineas winner, Ameerat, was fifth, beaten 3 1/2 lengths, while Rose Gypsy showed nothing in coming home 11th.

"This is one the best races for a filly to win," said a delighted Andre Fabre, who trains Banks Hill for Khalid Abdullah. "I was very confident from the very beginning with her. She didn't have the right ground in the French Guineas but she pleased me when she won the Prix de Sandringham last time."

Fabre noted an important difference between Banks Hill and her brother Dansili.

"Dansili was always very disappointing in the final furlong," he said, "while Banks Hill acts like she can get a mile and a quarter. I will have to talk over future plans with Prince Khalid but I think we'll run her against the boys."

Banks Hill ran the one-turn uphill mile in 1:39.61, or 1.03 seconds off the track record set by Ridgewood Pearl in this race in 1995.

Storming Home storms home first

The victory of Storming Home in the 1 1/2-mile Group 2 King Edward VII Stakes went a long ways towards confirming the superiority of Epsom Derby form over that of the French Derby.

The 9-2 Storming Home had been fifth in the Epsom classic while the 7-4 favorite Milan, trained by Aidan O'Brien, had been fifth in the French equivalent.

In the King Edward, Storming Home rallied under Michael Hills to defeat Snowstorm by 1 1/4 lengths. Milan was fourth, three lengths behind the winner. The winning time was 2:30.31.

Sandmason takes Hardwicke

By comparison, the 12-1 Sandmason was all out to nip Zindabad in the Group 2 Hardwicke Stakes at the same distance, which the winner covered in 2:29.59. The Grand Lodge 4-year-old gave trainer Henry Cecil the 69th Royal Ascot winner of his storied career, though Cecil's favored Wellbeing faded to fifth.

Equally disappointing was Mutafaweq, who was third. Mutafaweq and Wellbeing had finished one-two in the Coronation Cup at Epsom two weeks ago, but their prolonged stretch duel that day may have taken the edge off them both.

A victory filled with Irony

There was a jubilant celebration in the Ascot winner's circle after the victory of Irony in the five-furlong Windsor Castle Stakes for 2-year-olds. The center of all the hullabaloo was the winning trainer, Jamie Osborne.

A top jump jockey in England for many years, Osborne, who spent a couple of Augusts riding at Saratoga, had retired to take up his new career after being cleared of charges of race fixing.

Irony's victory at 8-1 was perhaps the most popular of the four-day Royal Meeting, which concluded with the favored Life Is Life winning the Queen Alexandra Stakes, which at two miles, six furlongs, 34 yards is the longest flat race in the world.