Rizeena Back to Best in Coronation Stakes
Rizeena, a disappointing classic starter last time out, repelled strong bids from Lesstalk In Paris and Euro Charline to win the Coronation Stakes (Eng-I) for 3-year-old fillies June 20 at Royal Ascot.
Ryan Moore piloted the Iffraaj filly to a three-quarter-length triumph, her second group I win and fifth overall triumph from 10 career starts for Sheikh Rashid Dalmook al Maktoum and 80-year-old trainer Clive Brittain.
A top-class juvenile last year as winner of the Moyglare Stud Stakes (Ire-I) at the Curragh and Queen Mary Stakes (Eng-II) at the royal meet, Rizeena bounced back to from off a lackluster seventh in the QIPCO One Thousand Guineas (Eng-I) May 4 at Newmarket to start the 2014 season. She missed the Irish equivalent after bleeding following a workout.
Rosalind, dead-heat winner of the Central Bank Ashland Stakes (Eng-I) this spring at Keeneland for trainer Ken McPeek, stumbled as the gate opened and dumped Kieren Fallon, getting the race started with a dramatic flair.
J Wonder took up the early running under a snug hold from Jimmy Fortune and plodded along at the front pursued My Titania, Rizeena, and Euro Charline, all keen to race. Ready when given the cue, Rizeena hit the front over a furlong out and dug in when France-based Lesstalk In Paris charged from midfield down the center of the track to come up short. Euro Charline held on to finish third, just a head farther behind.
Rizeena was timed in 1:40.73 on firm turf.
"I wasn't worried about the pace," Brittain told England's Press Association. "She's a lovely walker, so they could have walked and she would have won. She's a lovely trotter, they could have trotted and she would have won. But they galloped, and she's great at that too and won."
Brittain indicated a return to Ascot later in the year was possible.
"We'll probably come back for the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes (Eng-I, in October) on Champion's Day," he said
Lightning Thunder, the 5-2 favorite over My Titania, had a wide trip and finished ninth.
Rabbah Bloodstock, which manages the racing interests of friends and business associates of Sheikh Mohammed, bought Rizeena for $80,360 from breeder Honora Corridan's Round Hill Stud at the Tattersalls October yearling sale.
Her dam is the winning Statue of Liberty mare Serena's Storm, a half sister to Australian group II winner Puissance de Lune, who was twice group I-placed. The family includes United States champion 3-year-old filly Serena's Song.
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