06/19/2009 12:00AM

Ghanaati wins Coronation Cup at Ascot


Ghanaati won the battle of the 1000 Guineas winners at Royal Ascot on Friday with a record-setting performance in the Group 1, $408,000 Coronation Stakes. The winner of the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket, Ghanaati had little difficulty in defeating a sterling field of 3-year-old fillies as she sped through the largely uphill, right-handed mile in a course-record 1:38.32.

A daughter of Giant's Causeway - who himself had won the colt equivalent of the Coronation, the St. James's Palace Stakes, in 2000 - led approaching the three-sixteenths pole under Richard Hills and had no trouble holding off the late challenge of the improving French invader Reggane by two lengths. Rainbow View, the European juvenile fillies champ who had disappointed in both the 1000 Guineas and the English Oaks, ran well despite a troubled trip to finish third, 2 1/4 lengths behind Reggane and two lengths in front of the French 1000 Guineas winner, Elusive Wave.

Again, not as comfortable on the good-to-firm ground as she was in the heavy going in which she had won the Irish 1000 Guineas, was seventh, 19 3/4 lengths behind the winner.

Saddled by Charlie Hills, son of the recently hospitalized Barry Hills, Ghanaati was running for just the fourth time and should have further improvement to come. Termed "the best filly I have ever ridden" by her rider, also a son of Barry Hills, Ghanaati could face older colts next time in the Group 1 Sussex Stakes at Goodwood on July 29. The Alain de Royer-Dupre-trained Reggane, who was running in only her third race after finishing second in the Group 2 Prix de Sandringham at Chantilly, will likely wait for the Group 1 Prix Rothschild (formerly the Prix d'Astarte) against fillies and mares at Deauville on Aug. 2.

Wesley Ward was out of luck in the Group 3, $114,000 Albany Stakes when his Kentucky Juvenile Stakes winner, Aegean, weakened to finish ninth of 22 behind the 16-1 Habaayib. Aegean pressed the early pace under John Velazquez but came up empty, beaten 11 1/4 lengths as the 5-2 second choice. The Aidan O'Brien-trained Lillie Langtry was second as the 6-5 favorite, 1 1/4 lengths behind the winner, who ran the straight six furlongs in 1:15.63.

Trainer Henry Cecil won the $245,000 King Edward VII Stakes for the seventh time when Father Time drew clear for a four-length victory in the 1 1/2-mile Group 2 race for 3-year-old colts and geldings. Your Old Pal was second, with Black Bear Island finishing best of the three Epsom Derby also-rans in third, a neck behind the runner-up.

The 9-1 Father Time, owned by Khalid Abdullah, was clocked in 2:27.37, just 0.13 of a second off the track mark. Group 3 Dee Stakes winner South Easter, the 7-2 favorite, failed to stay in coming home sixth, beaten 10 1/4 lengths. Father Time, a full brother to juvenile 1 1/4-mile, Group 1 Criterium de Saint-Cloud winner Passage of Time, looks like a prime candidate for the St. Leger Stakes.