Ghanaati Sets Course Record in Coronation

She set a new course record One Thousand Guineas (Eng-I) heroine Ghanaati demolished a stellar field to capture the Coronation Stakes (Eng-I) at Royal Ascot June 19. 

In a race that brought together the winners of the English, Irish, and French Guineas, along with last year’s champion 2-year-old filly, Ghanaati proved far superior, drawing off under a confident ride from Richard Hills to win by two lengths. The bay daughter of Giant's Causeway  set a new course record with her win, breaking the old mark by 0.38 seconds.

As expected, Elusive Wave, winner of the Poule d’Essai des Pouliches (Fr-I) in her last start, was away quickly from gate. She was soon joined by longshot Chintz, who took over the running and opened up a four-length lead on the rest of the field.

Elusive Wave continued to race in second under Christophe Lemaire, with Ghanaati tracking in third. Ryan Moore had Again, winner of the Irish One Thousand Guineas (Ire-I), settled in mid-division, along with fellow Coolmore runner Heart Shaped.

As the field rounded the turn and headed into the home straight, both Lemaire and Richard Hughes, aboard Heart Shaped, made their moves, engulfing the front-running Chintz in a couple of strides. Richard Hills and Ghanaati were looming on the outside though, and flew by them all, taking command with just over a furlong to go.

From that point the race was over, and Ghanaati drew off to win easily by two lengths. French filly Reggane, making just her third career start, came from far back to secure the place spot over Rainbow View, who overcame a troubled trip to finish third.

Elusive Wave held on for fourth, while Heart Shaped faded to sixth. Irish Guineas winner Again never fired and finished a disappointing seventh. Final time for the eight furlongs was 1:38.32 over the 'good to firm' course.

Ghanaati is trained by Barry Hills for owner-breeder Sheikh Hamdan al Maktoum. Hills, who is undergoing treatment for throat cancer, was not at Royal Ascot on Friday, so son (and assistant trainer), Charlie, handled the saddling duties for his father.

The younger Hills told reporters after the race, “She's so professional. She is a beautiful stamp of a filly and is just getting better and better. She's class.

“I doubt very much that my father has ever had a filly as good as her, even after 40 years.”

Richard Hills added, “There are only two women in my life, my wife and this filly. She's aptly named because in Arabic, Ghanaati means ‘My Love’ and she's certainly that today. She’s the best filly I’ve ridden, without a doubt.”

Ghanaati was bred in Kentucky and is out of the Mr. Prospector mare, Sarayir. Her second dam is the champion and blue hen mare Height of Fashion, who has also produced Nashwan, Nayef, and Unfuwain.