Sky Lantern Shines Bright in Sun Chariot

Sky Lantern Shines Bright in Sun Chariot
Photo: Trevor Jones
Sky Lantern runs away from the others to take the Sun Chariot Stakes.
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Sky Lantern powered from last and overhauled Integral in the inside final furlong for a one-length win in the Kingdom of Bahrain Sun Chariot Stakes (Eng-I) Sept. 28 at Newmarket.
 
The 7-4 favorite, Sky Lantern rebounded from two defeats, tallying her third group I win of the year and fourth overall in a race that was billed as a showdown between the 3-year-old Red Clubs filly and multiple group I winner Elusive Kate. That rival controversially defeated Sky Lantern in July at Newmarket in the Falmouth Stakes, in which she drifted left and forced out Sky Lantern in the final furlong. 
 
At 11-4 odds in the Sun Chariot, Elusive Kate gave a disappointing performance. She tracked early pacesetter Just The Judge before taking control over a quarter mile out. She predictably hung left under pressure and then sputtered, leaving it to progressive Integral to handle Sky Lantern. 
 
Shaken up by Richard Hughes more than a furlong out, Sky Lantern gamely split horses in the straight and charged down the center of track. With ground gobbling strides, she wore down Integral in the final 120 yards and scored comfortably. 
 
Duntle, seventh in the Beverly D. Stakes (gr. IT) at Arlington Park last out, pursued Integral in her charge toward the finish line, but could not keep pace and settled for third, a length behind Integral. Elusive Kate checked in fourth, another 2 1/2 lengths back. 
 
Sky Lantern was timed in 1:38.02 in the one-mile race on good to firm turf. Following her narrow defeat in the Falmouth, she finished fifth in the Markel Insurance Nassau Stakes (Eng-I) Aug. 3 at Goodwood. But she was back to her best in the Sun Chariot.
 
Hughes told England's Press Association the gray filly deserved the win.
 
"She stumbled once or twice in the race and she was totally asleep, but at the three-pole she came alive," he said. "My only worry was not getting involved with Elusive Kate again, but luckily enough she drifted just after I quickened."
 
Bred in Ireland by Tally Ho Stud, Sky Lantern is trained by Richard Hannon for Hong Kong businessman Ben Keswick. She previously won at the top level in the 2012 Moyglare Stud Stakes (Ire-I) and the 2013 QIPCO One Thousand Guineas (Eng-I) and Coronation Stakes (Eng-I).
 
Entering the Sun Chariot, Sky Lantern topped the points race for the Cartier Award as Europe's champion 3-year-old filly, leading from Etihad Airways Irish One Thousand Guineas (Ire-I) winner Just The Judge and Investec Epsom Oaks (Eng-I) winner Talent.
 
Sky Lantern is out of the Shareef Dancer mare Shawanni and 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. Shareef Dancer is a half sister to French group III winner Songlark and United Arab Emirates group III winner Blatant, who was group I-placed in England and Italy.
 
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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