Fallon hoping for crowning glory

DAMSON goes in search of back-to-back successes at the Royal meeting when she attempts to justify ante-post favouritism in the Coronation Stakes at York today.

And Kieren Fallon is hoping he has made the right choice of mount ahead of the Group One showpiece.

The former champion had the option of riding UltimatePoker.com 1000 Guineas heroine Virginia Waters for his boss Aidan O’Brien but has plumped for Damson, who is in the same ownership.

The David Wachman-trained filly was a hugely impressive winner of the Queen Mary 12 months ago on very fast ground.

She has been restricted to just one run this season, finishing ninth, beaten just two lengths, in the Irish 1000 Guineas at the Curragh.

“I rode them both in work on Monday and they each felt good. I picked Damson as she was the better filly last year, but it was a tough decision,” said Fallon.

“Virginia Waters ran well in the English Guineas, but was beaten at the Curragh, and the English Guineas might have taken more out of her than we thought.

“She then went to Epsom for the Oaks, where she was travelling like the winner but just didn’t stay.

“I’ve ridden Damson in all of her work this year and she gave me the best feel, so I chose her.

“It was a tough call, but as long as one of them wins, I’ll be happy, as it’s the same team.”

Recent rain at York has left the ground loose on top, although the official going remains good to firm.

“As long as there is no more rain, the ground will be fine for her, but there is plenty of rain around,” continued Fallon.

“It hasn’t been my week so far. The draw and the ground has been against my rides. All of my rides have wanted pretty much top of the ground.

“But I’ve always said my best rides would come at the end of the week and hopefully that will be the case.”

O’Brien, who also saddles Mona Lisa, hopes the drop back to a mile will help Virginia Waters return to winning ways.

“Virginia Waters didn’t stay a mile and a half in the Oaks and will be better suited dropping in trip,” he said. “Mona Lisa has not come back to last year’s form but might be getting there.”

English Guineas runner-up Maids Causeway will represent Barry Hills as she bids to atone for her fifth in the Irish equivalent.

“She’s in good form and she is heavier than when she last ran,” said the Lambourn trainer.

“I don’t think the ground was a factor at the Curragh. It was just the way the race panned out.

“The field split and a lot of the runners went to the far rail and it just didn’t go her way. She’s a very tough filly and she stays well.”

Dermot Weld will be represented by Irish Guineas fourth Utterly Heaven, a lightly-raced daughter of Danehill who will be having just her fourth start and who did not see a racetrack until April.

“She is progressing all the time, stayed on to be fourth in the Irish Guineas and the quicker ground should help,” said Weld.

David Elsworth has not enjoyed the best of luck at the meeting so far this week but will be hoping Newmarket fifth Cape Columbine can lift his fortunes.

Penkenna Princess will not take her chance after being found to be running a slight temperature. “We just weren’t happy with her tonight and she has just got a slight temperature,” said trainer Ralph Beckett .

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