Favourite backers were left celebrating after the Aidan O’Brien-trained Lille Langtry produced a classy performance to land the Group 1 Coronation Stakes under Johnny Murtagh. Sent off the 7/2 first choice of punters, it provided the powerful Ballydoyle operation with their first winner of the week and went some way to making up for their near-miss with Age of Aquarius in the Gold Cup 24 hours earlier. Murtagh was happy to track the early pace once the stalls opened as Jim Bolger’s Gile Na Greine led the field. Kevin Manning set a pretty sedate pace through the early stages but, as the field swung for home, the tempo increased and suddenly the daughter of Galileo skipped a couple of lengths clear. Murtagh was wise to the move though and soon had his filly in the clear and once he asked her to lengthen she readily reeled in the long-time leader and powered away for an impressive one-and-a-quarter length success. Gile Na Greine kept going in gutsy fashion to gain a deserved 2nd place at 25/1, while Jacqueline Quest, controversially demoted from first past the post in the English 1,000 Guineas last month, ran a sound race to cross the line in 3rd, just holding off Music Show who had to settle for 4th.
The winner had announced herself as one of the leading juveniles of 2009 with two Group race successes which sat alongside victory in the valuable Tattersalls Timeform Sales race at Newmarket. As a result of these achievements she was sent off favourite on her final two-year-old start which came in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf but, sadly for connections, she picked up a knee injury which delayed her comeback run until she reappeared by finishing 5th in the Irish 1,000 Guineas last month.
Following on from her injury at the end of last season, the winning trainer was obviously thrilled to see her register her first top-level victory. “We are delighted, we always thought she was a very good filly,” he said. “She was very good last year but she had a little injury at the backend and it’s all credit to everyone for getting her back as she was off all through the winter. We started her off in the Irish Guineas and she ran a lovely race there - we were delighted with her and were looking forward to coming here. She now has the option to step up into a mile and a quarter and we’ll have to discuss what’s next for her”.