Prominent amongst the big highlights on Day 4 at the marvellous Royal Ascot festival is this top class contest for fillies. Won by the likes of Russian Rhythm, Attraction and Winter over the years, this is one of the real championship contests for the Classic generation.
This race dates back to 1840 and was created to commemorate the coronation of Queen Victoria in 1838.
As a mile contest purely for three year old fillies, the Coronation Stakes attracts horses who have previously competed in the the British, Irish and French 1000 Guineas races.
Coronation Stakes Course Map (Flat Course)
As with the St James's Palace Stakes, the Coronation Stakes is run on the 1m round course. This starts at the end of the small extension to the north of the course. Runners travel south towards the stands, turning right-handed to join the home straight.
Coronation Stakes Past Winners
|2021||Alcohol Free||11/2||Andrew Balding||Oisin Murphy|
|2020||Alpine Star||9/2||Jessica Harrington||Frankie Dettori|
|2019||Watch Me||20/1||Francis-Henri Graffard||Pierre-Charles Boudot|
|2018||Alpha Centauri||11/4||Jessica Harrington||Colm O'Donoghue|
|2017||Winter||4/9||Aidan O’Brien||Ryan Moore|
|2016||Qemah||6/1||Jean-Claude Rouget||Gregory Benoist|
|2015||Ervedya||3/1||Jean-Claude Rouget||Christophe Soumillon|
|2014||Rizeena||11/2||Clive Brittain||Ryan Moore|
|2013||Sky Lantern||9/2||Richard Hannon Snr.||Richard Hughes|
|2012||Fallen For You||12/1||John Gosden||William Buick|
|2011||Immortal Verse||8/1||Robert Collet||Gerald Mosse|
|2010||Lillie Langtry||7/2||Aidan O'Brien||Johnny Murtagh|
|2009||Ghanaati||2/1||Barry Hills||Richard Hills|
|2008||Lush Lashes||5/1||Jim Bolger||Kevin Manning|
|2007||Indian Ink||8/1||Richard Hannon Sr.||Richard Hughes|
|2006||Nannina||6/1||John Gosden||Jimmy Fortune|
|2005||Maids Causeway||9/2||Barry Hills||Michael Hills|
|2004||Attraction||6/4||Mark Johnston||Kevin Darley|
|2003||Russian Rhythm||4/7||Sir Michael Stoute||Kieren Fallon|
|2002||Sophisticat||11/2||Aidan O'Brien||Michael Kinane|
About the Coronation Stakes
Standing as the leading contest on day four of Royal Ascot is the mile long Coronation Stakes. Named to commemorate the coronation of Queen Victoria two years earlier, this race has been on the go since 1840. It’s been an ever-present feature at Ascot since, postponed only when Ascot closed during times of war. Initially handed Group 2 status when the present system of grading was introduced, a number of high quality performers in the 1980s triggered its promotion to Group 1 in 1988.
The race is one of several top quality affairs strictly reserved for three-year-old fillies. Others include the 1,000 Guineas, the Poule d’Essai des Pouliches and the Irish 1,000 Guineas, which are also run over a distance of one mile. This is arguably the most sought after of the lot though thanks to its recent purse increase. In 2018 the Coronation Cup was valued at £538,750, a huge 25% increase from the previous year. This dropped to £500,000 in 2019, £250,000 in 2020 and was over £420,000 in 2021.
It’s common to find fillies that feature in the 1,000 Guineas or the Irish 1,000 Guineas winding up in this race. Runners in the Poule d’Essai des Pouliches do sometimes make the move across the Channel for the Coronation Stakes too although this is less common. The result of either the British or Irish Guineas has been a reasonably strong predictor of how this race turns out and it’s certainly of some worth to heed the results. As you can see from the table below, when winners of the Classic races do feature here, plenty are able to at least meet expectations.
1000 GUINEAS WINNERS IN THE CORONATION STAKES: 2009 TO 2021
|Year||Horse||1000 Guineas||Irish 1000 Guineas||Coronation Stakes|
|2021||Mother Earth||✔||✘||3rd at 9/2|
|Empress Josephine||✘||✔||8th at 6/1|
|2019||Hermosa||✔||✔||2nd at evens|
|2018||Alpha Centauri||✘||✔||1st at 11/4|
|Billesdon Brook||✔||✘||4th at 9/2|
|2017||Winter||✔||✔||1st at 4/9|
|2016||Jet Setting||✘||✔||6th at 9/4|
|2015||Pleascach||✘||✔||2nd at evens|
|2013||Sky Lantern||✔||✘||1st at 9/2|
|Just The Judge||✘||✔||3rd at 5/1|
|2012||Samitar||✘||✔||4th at 9/2|
|Homecoming Queen||✔||✘||8th at 9/4|
|2009||Ghanaati||✔||✘||1st at 2/1|
|Again||✘||✔||7th at 8/1|
THRILLING FINISH TO A SPECIAL 2013 RENEWAL
There is never a bad Coronation Stakes race but there are some that are more memorable than others. One that will stick in the mind of many racing fans is the 2013 edition of the race, won by Richard Hughes’ Sky Lantern. That year saw a field of 17 go for the Group 1 prize, making it the most well-attended renewal since the turn of the century. With a furlong left to go five horses were level pegging at the front of the field. It looked to be anyone’s for the taking but Sky Lantern put the burners on to swallow the lot of them on her way to an emphatic four length victory.
ODD WAY TO VICTORY
Make of this what you will but there has been an unusual bias towards horses starting in odd numbered stalls in this race at Ascot. From the last 21 renewals (2005 was held at York), they’ve accounted for 15 winners (71%) with gate 11 (19% of races) being the most successful of the lot.
While it could easily just be the possibility of pure fluke, the lack of success of the inside runner is unlikely to be. Fillies who have been drawn in gate one haven’t claimed victory since 2003, a winless streak long enough to make you suspect they are at some disadvantage.