05/05/2013 1:59PM

English 1000 Guineas: Breeders' Cup also-ran Sky Lantern scores 9-1 upset


Sky Lantern, who finished eighth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies at Santa Anita last November, gave British champion jockey Richard Hughes his first British classic win in Sunday’s $620,000 English 1000 Guineas at Newmarket Racecourse in England.

Trained by Richard Hannon, Sky Lantern (9-1) finished a half-length in front of Just the Judge, a 7-1 chance. Moth, a 9-1 shot trained by Aidan O’Brien, finished a troubled third, racing in traffic with two furlongs remaining. Hot Snap, the 5-2 favorite, finished ninth, never threatening the leaders after being urged midway through the race.

Sky Lantern raced in the middle of the field of 15 3-year-old fillies for the first half of the one-mile race on a straightaway. Sky Lantern moved closer to the front with a furlong to go, challenging late stretch contender Winning Express and Just the Judge.

With about a sixteenth of a mile remaining, Just the Judge took the lead in the final furlong, but could not hold off Sky Lantern.

The English 1000 Guineas, run for the 200th time on Sunday, was the second Group 1 win for Sky Lantern, who races for Ben Keswick. Last September, Sky Lantern, an Irish-bred by the Red Ransom stallion Red Clubs, won the Group 1 Moyglare Stud Stakes over seven furlongs in Ireland. She has won 4 of 8 starts in her career.

The win came a day after disappointment for Hughes and Hannon when Toronado could only finish fourth behind favored Dawn Approach in the English 2000 Guineas.

Japan: NHK Cup goes to 33-1 longshot

The 33-1 outsider Meiner Ho O won the first Grade 1 race of his career in Sunday’s $1,936,969 NHK Mile Cup for 3-year-olds at Tokyo Racecourse in Japan.

Ridden by Daichi Shibata for trainer Yoshihiro Hatakeyama, Meiner Ho O closed from the back of a field of 18 with a wide rally to finish a neck in front of the 13-1 shot Impulse Hero. Flamme de Gloire, a 28-1 longshot, finished third, a neck behind Impulse Hero.

A Shin Top, an American-bred by Tale of the Cat, finished a troubled seventh as the 5-2 favorite, encountering trouble in the stretch.

Meiner Ho O is by the Sunday Silence stallion Suzuka Phoenix and is owned by K Thoroughbred Club Ruffian. The colt has won 4 of 10 starts. Before Sunday’s race, his best result was a third in the Grade 2 Spring Stakes earlier this year.