06/17/2009 11:00PM

Top filly milers clash in Coronation


Three 1000 Guineas winners help to make the $410,000 Coronation Stakes the race of the week at Royal Ascot on Friday, when each of the 12 entries in the one-mile Group 1 for 3-year-old fillies has a proper claim on first prize.

Fillies of the juvenile sort will also line up for the Group 3 Albany Stakes in which the best of trainer Wesley Ward's 2-year-olds, Aegean, will attempt to follow up on the historic victories of Strike the Tiger and Jealous Again earlier in the week.

The Coronation will, as its name suggests, crown Europe's 3-year-old filly mile champion. The Barry Hills-trained Ghanaati, a daughter of Giant's Causeway, rates 9-4 favoritism off her victory in the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket but she could be vulnerable to the French Guineas winner, Elusive Wave. An Irish-bred Elusive City filly trained by the in-form Jean-Claude Rouget, she is 6 for 7 lifetime and will have Christophe Lemaire aboard.

Again slogged her way through heavy ground to defeat the mud-loving Lahaleeb by a neck in the Irish 1000. Both, however, may find Ascot's good-to-firm conditions too quick for their liking.

American hopes lie with Rainbow View, owned by George Strawbridge. Fifth as the favorite in the Newmarket Guineas, this John Gosden-trained daughter of Dynaformer ran just two weeks ago, finishing fourth in the 1 1/2-mile English Oaks, in which she was bumped hard at the quarter pole. This cutback to a mile after such a brief rest does not look like a recipe for victory.

Alain de Royer-Dupre will saddle the promising Red Ransom filly Reggane. Second in the Group 2 Prix de Sandringham at Chantilly in just her second start, she is entitled to improve again with Gerald Mosse riding.

Aegean gave her stablemate Jealous Again, winner of Wednesday's Group 2 Norfolk Stakes, a sound 2 1/4-length beating last time in the Grade 3 Kentucky Juvenile Stakes at Churchill Downs. Given the sensation caused by Jealous Again in the Norfolk, Aegean could well go off the favorite in the six-furlong, $115,000 Albany Stakes, in which she will be ridden by John Velazquez. Her most dangerous rival will be the Aidan O'Brien-trained Lillie Langtry, the 2 1/2-length winner of the Group 3 Naas Juvenile Fillies Stakes on June 1.

The Group 2, $246,000, King Edward VII Stakes at 1 1/2 miles is sometimes referred to as the Ascot Derby. This year's edition includes three also-rans from the Epsom Derby in Debussy (eighth), Black Bear Island (10th), and Montaff (12th and last). The winner of the Group 2 Dante Stakes before the Derby, the O'Brien-trained Black Bear Island, a full brother to High Chaparral, rates the best chance of redemption, but all three must beware of South Easter, who was scratched from the Derby due to a bout of coughing. By Galileo out of a two-time 1 1/4-mile group race winner in France, South Easter won the 1 1/4-mile, Group 3 Dee Stakes last time at Chester on May 8. His freshness may prove to be the difference in the King Edward.

TVG will televise all six of Friday's races at Royal Ascot. Post time for the first, the Albany Stakes featuring Aegean, is 9:30 a.m. Eastern.