A Look Ahead - The Coronation Stakes

A Look Ahead - The Coronation Stakes

The Coronation Stakes - held on Day Four of Royal Ascot, is a Group One contest open to three-year-old fillies, run over the distance just shy of a mile (7f23y).

The equivalent to the St James's Palace Stakes but for the girls, it was established back in 1840 commemorating the coronation of a new British monarch - Queen Victoria, which took place two years earlier.

It was promoted to Group One status in 1988, and typically features fillies than ran previously in the 1,000 Guineas - or other related events from different countries - including in Ireland and in France in the Poule d'Essai des Pouliches.

The most recent filly to follow up a win in one of those races with victory in the Coronation Stakes was Alpha Centauri, the 2018 Irish 1,000 Guineas winner, who set a new track record when scoring at the Berkshire venue for trainer Jessica Harrington.

Like the three-year-old colt highlight on the opening day, it is impossible for fillies to contest this race more than once.

In the last few years however, the race has been much more open across differing nations, with the French taking two of the last five renewals.

Aidan O'Brien has not been as dominant here as he has been in other contests across the week, with just one victory since 2011, but never write the great man off.

Excluding Ryan Moore's success on that O'Brien winner - Winter in 2017, there has been no jockey that has won the race more than once in the last twelve years.

Qemah, Sky Lantern and Attraction have arguably been the other more high-profile heroines in the 21st century.

This season, messers O'Brien and Moore have the leading player in the shape of dual Guineas winner Hermosa, who won at both Newmarket and the Curragh.

The three-year-old has rapidly improved this season after some great performances as a juvenile.

Having won her maiden at the second time of asking at Gowran, she picked up a nice Group Three three starts later, before finishing as the runner-up at Newmarket in the Fillies Mile and in the Criterium International at Chantilly - the pair of those in Group One company.

Hindsight is a wonderful spectacle, but looking back at her 14/1 SP before the English 1,000 Guineas at Newmaket, it left many of us crunching our fists.

She has been well backed since she was confirmed to not go down the French Oaks route, and currently rests at no bigger than 5/4 favourite with most firms.

O'Brien has five other possibilities including Group Three winners Happen and So Perfect, whilst his son Joseph has the Fillies Mile winner Iridessa to head his charge.

Challenging Hermosa at the top of the market is a filly that has burst of the scene out of nowhere really - a winner on debut on the all-weather at Chelmsford in April, Jubiloso coasted home in a Novice contest at Newbury on Lockinge weekend.

Closely related as a half-sister to the great Frankel, she bolted up in another part of Berkshire and really looks something special for Sir Michael Stoute going forward.

The French will attempt to go at it again when the Godolphin-owned Castle Lady steps foot at Ascot, and currently brings with her a three-race unbeaten record.

After a win on debut at Chantilly and a Group Three at Longchamp, the three-year-old landed the Poule d'Essai des Pouliches at the latter venue a month ago (the French 1,000 Guineas), and surely should have a part to play in this.

The boys in blue also have the Saeed bin Suroor-trained pair of Swift Rose and Promise Of Success, although they are very much considered outsiders.

Next on the list is the Michael Bell-trained Pretty Pollyanna - once favourite for the 1,000 Guineas after her convincing victories in the Duchess Of Cambridge Stakes at Newmarket, and the Group One Prix Morny at Deauville in August.

She perhaps lost her way a little towards the end of last season and was certainly capable of producing better results, and that she did on return when behind Hermosa at the Curragh.

Despite four lengths to bridge, she will certainly come on from that effort now racing consistently over a mile, and should not be discounted.

Willam Haggas has the exciting Maqsad dropping back to eight furlongs after a poor display in the Oaks at Epsom.

Whether she did not handle the track, the distance, the pace - that debate remains for another day, and owner Hamdan Al Maktoum will be hoping she can quickly bounce back over the reduced trip here, after two effortless displays at HQ opened her account for the season.

Qabala won the Nell Gwyn Stakes, and despite running on gamely to snatch third in the Qipco 1,000 Guineas, never was seen to her best at the Curragh in the Irish version.

Kevin Ryan's East as well as another Ballydoyle recruit - Just Wonderful, have plenty of work to do to rediscover their best respective form from last year.

Magnetic Charm - another for Haggas, will look to provide Queen Elizabeth II a winner at the royal meeting.