06/21/2013 2:23PM

Royal Ascot: Sky Lantern runs away with Coronation Stakes


Sky Lantern gave top jockey Richard Hughes his first British classic win last month, and she saved his Royal Ascot meeting Friday.

Nearly seven weeks after winning the Group 1 English 1000 Guineas at Newmarket, Sky Lantern won Friday’s Group 1 Coronation Stakes, the top race for 3-year-olds fillies over the five days of racing at Royal Ascot.

The $546,000 Coronation Stakes was billed as a matchup between two 1000 Guineas winners – Sky Lantern and Just the Judge, who won the Irish 1000 Guineas on May 26.

But Sky Lantern’s performance made the contest lopsided. Sent off as the 9-2 joint favorite with Big Break, Sky Lantern won by four lengths over 33-1 Kenhope. Just the Judge, a 5-1 chance, finished third, beaten 4 1/4 lengths in the field of 17.

Hughes, who spent Friday morning on a local golf course, reflected on a frustrating week after winning on Sky Lantern.

“What a relief, what a relief,” Hughes said. “Everything has gone wrong.”

Sky Lantern closed from the back of the field before reaching contention with a quarter-mile remaining. She took the lead with a furlong to go.

“She’s a brilliant filly who had no recognition after the Guineas,” Hughes said. “She was brilliant [Friday]. She will get further.”

Trained by Richard Hannon for Ben Keswick, Sky Lantern has won 5 of 9 starts. One of her losses was an eighth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf at Santa Anita last November.

In the $273,000 King Edward VII Stakes on Friday, Hillstar won his group stakes debut, closing from the back of a field of eight to finish a length in front of the 10-11 favorite Battle of Marengo.

Ridden by Ryan Moore for Michael Stoute, Hillstar took the lead in the last sixteenth to win the Group 2 race over 1 1/2 miles on turf for 3-year-olds.