06/19/2013 1:33PM

Royal Ascot: Sky Lantern, Just the Judge rematched in Coronation

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Barbara D. Livingston
Sky Lantern (above) defeated Just the Judge in the Group 1 English 1000 Guineas.

A half-length separated Sky Lantern and Just the Judge when they finished first and second in the Group 1 English 1000 Guineas at Newmarket on May 5.

That alone would make their appearance in Friday’s Group 1 Coronation Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at Royal Ascot a duel to savor. But Just the Judge made the Coronation more interesting when she was sent to Ireland and won the Irish 1000 Guineas at The Curragh in late May.

Because of that recent win, Just the Judge was listed as the 5-2 favorite on Wednesday to win the $546,000 Coronation Stakes, which is run over a mile. Sky Lantern, who finished eighth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf at Santa Anita last November, was the 4-1 second choice in a field of 17.

Just the Judge races for Qatar Racing and is trained by Charles Hills. Jamie Spencer rides Just the Judge, who has impressed Hills with her condition since the Irish 1000 Guineas.

“There’s a lot of speculation about the rematch with Sky Lantern, and we are looking forward to what should be a great spectacle,” he said on his website last weekend. “She’s continued to be in great form at home since her win in Ireland. Jamie Spencer was very pleased when he rode her on Saturday morning.”

The Coronation field also includes Big Break, fourth in the Irish 1000 Guineas; the undefeated Pavlosk, who has won two starts and makes her group stakes debut; and Viztoria, who won the Group 3 Athasi Stakes in Ireland last month.

The Coronation Stakes is the top race on Friday’s six-race program at Royal Ascot.

In the Group 2 King Edward VII Stakes for 3-year-olds, Battle of Marengo, fourth in the English Derby on June 1, is part of a field of eight. The $273,000 King Edward VII Stakes is run over 1 1/2 miles.

Later on the program, Royal Ascot will commemorate the accomplishments of trainer Henry Cecil with a race named in his honor – the Queen’s Vase Stakes (in memory of Sir Henry Cecil). Cecil, the all-time leading trainer at Royal Ascot with 75 wins, died June 11 after a battle of cancer.

His widow, Jane Cecil, is training his stable. She will start Disclaimer in the Queen’s Vase Stakes over two miles.