Sky Lantern Flies from Last in Coronation
Sky Lantern stormed from last on the far outside and drew off to a powerful four-length victory in the Coronation Stakes (Eng-I) June 21 at Royal Ascot.
The winner was relegated to the back of the 17-horse field from her unfavorable wide draw in post 16 as Lovely Pass set a solid tempo.
Jockey Richard Hughes patiently waited with the Red Clubs filly and she was wound up and ready to on the home turn. Knowing he had a ton of filly, Hughes angled Sky Lantern to the outside for a clear run and she unleashed a tremendous rally as the front-runners began to tire.
Needing only a hand ride, Sky Lantern cruised to lead a furlong out and settled the matter in convincing style as the 9-2 co-favorite.
French group III winner Kenhope finished best of the rest, with Irish One Thousand Guineas (Ire-I) winner Just The Judge taking third, a neck back after starting from the widest post and leading over a furlong out. Irish group III winner Big Break, also at 9-2, finished seventh.
"We were in two minds whether to run her after she was drawn 16 of (17) as I didn't feel it would have been fair on her to have to do it the hard way," said Richard Hannon Jr., son and assistant to trainer Richard Hannon. "She's had everything against her today, so to see her win like that means she must be a very special filly."
Sky Lantern was timed in 1:39.75 for the mile on turf rated as good to firm.
Entering off a half-length victory over Just The Judge in the QIPCO One Thousand Guineas (Eng-I) May 5 at Newmarket, Sky Lantern has won two of her three starts this season. She had three victories and two seconds from six starts as a 2-year-old, including a win in the Moyglare Stud Stakes (Ire-I) at the Curragh.
The gray filly began 2013 with runner-up finish in the Nell Gwyn Stakes (Eng-III) April 17 before edging past previously unbeaten Just The Judge in the closing strides of the English Guineas for classic success.
The younger Hannon said he thinks Sky Lantern will keep improving.
"Races like the (one-mile) Falmouth Stakes (Eng-I) (July 12 at Newmarket) have to come into consideration now, but I'd like to step her up in trip (distance)," he said. "I think that a mile-and-quarter would be as far as she wants to go, but Richard (Hughes) thinks she'll easily get a mile-and-a-half. If that's the case, then we would seriously think about the (Prix de) l'Arc de Triomphe (Fr-I). She's definitely got the ability to cope with a race like that.
"You have to win races at Royal Ascot when you've got horses like this and I'm just relieved that she's been able to show it given the fact that everything was against her today."
Bred in Ireland by Tally Ho Stud out of the Shareef Dancer mare Shawanni, Sky Lantern is a half sister to three stakes winners, including English group winners Shanty Star and Arctic. Her grandam is English champion 2-year-old filly Negligent, who finished third in the 1990 One Thousand Guineas. Shawanni is a half sister French group III winner Songlark and United Arab Emirates group III winner Blatant, who was group I-placed in England and Italy.
Owned by Ben Keswick, Sky Lantern is from the second crop of European champion sprinter Red Clubs, who died in 2011 after being injured in a breeding shed accident. She is his top offspring among five stakes winners, including four group winners.
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