Lillie Langtry provided the Ballydoyle team with their first winner of the meeting when she turned in a dominating performance to capture the Coronation Stakes (Eng-I) at Royal Ascot June 18.
The victory was a welcome relief to trainer Aidan O’Brien, who has endured a frustrating week at Royal Ascot. That frustration was greatly evident June 17, when Age Of Aquarius was just nipped at the wire by Rite Of Passage in the Gold Cup (Eng-I).
Lillie Langtry has always been highly regarded by her connections, and finally rewarded their faith by recording her first group I success in the Coronation.
Jockey Johnny Murtagh was content to place Lillie Langtry in mid-pack after the start of the one mile contest, as 25-1 shot Gile Na Greine when straight to the front under jockey Kevin Manning.
Gile Na Greine increased her advantage on the front end as the field entered the home straight. Murtagh moved Lillie Langtry to the outside with just over two furlongs to run, giving his filly a clear run at the leader.
Under a sustained drive, Lillie Langtry wore down Gile Na Greine to take command within the final furlong to win by 1 1/4 lengths. Jacqueline Quest was third, another 2 1/4-lengths further back.
The final time for the eight furlongs was 1:39.69 over a course listed as good to firm.
O’Brien told reporters after the race, “We are delighted; we always thought she was a very good filly. She had a little injury at the back end of last year and it is a credit to everybody for getting her back.”
Murtagh added, “She’s a champion and I thought she was by far our best filly last year. Going to America, I was telling Aidan how far we were going to win the Breeders’ Cup (Juvenile Fillies Turf) by. That didn’t happen, but thankfully she came back well in the Irish Guineas (Ire-I) and she stepped up at home.”
With the Coronation victory, Lillie Langtry improved her record to four wins from nine starts. She entered the Royal Ascot contest off of a third-place finish in the Etihad Airways Irish One Thousand Guineas (Ire-I) on May 23, which was her first start of the year.
She had ended her 2-year-old season on a disappointing note, exiting the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (where she finished eighth) with a knee injury.
Lillie Langtry is by Danehill Dancer out of Hoity Toity, by Darshaan. She was bred in Ireland by K. B. Lynch, and is owned by Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith, and Susan Magnier.