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British champion finally gets Ascot win
Julian Muscat
07:06 AEST Sat Jun 22 2013

Three days of disappointment for Richard Hughes dissolved in an instant when Sky Lantern carried the British champion jockey to a pulsating victory in the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot on Friday.

What was billed as a closely-matched affair involving 17 runners became a one-horse race as Hughes scythed through from the rear to win very much as he liked.

The jockey had a hold of Sky Lantern's ear as the combination scored by four lengths from French invader Kenhope, with Just The Judge third.

Hughes rode with ice-cool nerves, anchoring the 1,000 Guineas winner at the rear of the field as other fancied runners jostled for a prominent position.

As the leaders wilted Hughes picked off his rivals to end a run of more than 50 unsuccessful rides at Royal Ascot.

"You don't do those things unless the people behind you really trust you," Hughes said.

"Richard (Hannon, the trainer) said go out and do what you're good at, and that makes all the difference."

Just The Judge was beaten half a length by Sky Lantern when the pair clashed in the 1,000 Guineas in early May, but fell further behind here.

"She ran a good race so we have to be pleased," said her trainer, Charlie Hills. "I think she wants to go further than a mile now."

Hills had earlier unleashed a two-year-old of rare promise when Kiyoshi, owned by the Qatari Al-Thani family, galloped clean away with the Albany Stakes under jockey Jamie Spencer.

Kiyoshi was last in the early stages before Spencer brought her through to pass 18 opponents.

Once in front, however, the filly swerved markedly to her right in beating favoured Sandiva by 3 lengths, with Frankel's half-sister, Joyeuse, back in third.

So striking was Kiyoshi that bookmakers immediately installed her as favourite for next year's 1,000 Guineas.

She was a second winner of the week for the Al-Thani family of Qatar after Extortionist annexed the Windsor Castle Stakes on Tuesday.

Aidan O'Brien's powerful Ballydoyle stable enjoyed mixed fortunes but still managed to maintain Ireland's momentum at the five-day meeting.

Battle Of Marengo, heavily backed for the King Edward VII Stakes, was ambushed close home by Hillstar after establishing a clear lead in the home straight.

But Leading Light made amends in the Queen Vase (In Memory of Sir Henry Cecil) to register O'Brien's fourth winner of the week.

All 15 jockeys in the race wore black armbands as a mark of respect for Cecil, the famed British trainer who died 10 days ago.

His stable had a fancied runner in Disclaimer but the colt, who took the lead rounding the final turn, tired late after fighting his jockey for most of the two-mile race.

O'Brien goes into the final day on Saturday as the meeting's leading trainer with four winners.

His son Joseph, who rode Leading Light, shares the lead in the jockeys' title with three winners.

He is joined on that mark by James Doyle and Johnny Murtagh, who won the Wolverton Handicap aboard Forgotten Voice.

Leading Light's victory also hoisted Ireland's tally to eight winners, which matches that country's best-ever previous haul with one day of the meeting to come.

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