Nannina crowned queen in Coronation

A PROLONGED winter and a deluge of rain at Newmarket may have denied Nannina a Classic success but the Group-one winning juvenile rewarded connections with a brilliant display in the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot yesterday.

John Gosden warned before the 1000 Guineas that the Cheveley Park Stud-owned filly was woolly in her coat and overnight rain which turned the ground soft at Headquarters put paid to her chance, with the daughter of Medicean finishing just 12th of the 13 runners.

But with another six weeks to blossom, Nannina marked herself out as the leading three-year-old filly over a mile with her authoritative defeat of four Guineas winners in Speciosa (English), Lolita (German), Nightime (Irish), Vague (UAE), as well as Price Tag, first past the position the French equivalent.

Newmarket heroine Speciosa defied her stall one draw to bag the running rail and was still leading the pack inside the final three furlongs of the mile contest without showing her tendency to drift left.

Jimmy Fortune was not far behind, however, and pulled 6-1 joint-favourite Nannina off the rail to sail past Speciosa passing the two-furlong marker.

Defeat was never an option thereafter as she strode away with the £250,000 race leaving Flashy Wings (13-2) two lengths in arrears, with Nasheej (20-1) three-quarters of a length back in third.

An elated Gosden said: “The reason she disappointed so badly in the Guineas was the soft ground. It hadn’t rained for five weeks and then we had an inch and a half on the morning of the race and she hated it.

“I’d said don’t knock her about in the Guineas because the race for her is the Coronation. It is always good to firm ground here.

“Jimmy was a little further back than he wanted to be but he was always close to the rail. I was pleased when Nasheej didn’t drop on to the rail though because that would have killed our run.

“We got a nice break up the inner as Frankie Dettori was just running out of horse and I think out of kindness and loyalty he let us through and shouted ’go on Jimmy’ as she went past!

“It was a peach of a ride and the plan was always to get lucky, you can’t manoeuvre out from there without luck.

“It’s nice to finally win this race, I’ve been second in it three times.”

The result provided another major success for Cheveley Park following Confidential Lady’s French Oaks victory and the Stud’s managing director, Chris Richardson, said: “After the year we are having I can’t believe it – I thought we’d had our luck winning a Classic.

“We were never tempted to take her out of the Guineas as there is only one Guineas and Mr and Mrs Thompson are Newmarket based so it is nice to give them runners.”

Fortune, who describes Nannina as a “character at home”, added: “She was always a nice filly and she was a Group One winner last year.

“She progressed as a two-year-old but she did not get her ground in the Guineas and she was fairly hairy too. But she worked well last week and gave me a lovely feel.

“She got her ground here and all went right for her on the day.”

A clash with the colts is now on the agenda in the Sussex Stakes at Glorious Goodwood and Fortune believes his mount – who lowered the colours of Oaks winner Alexandrova in the Fillies’ Mile last September – deserves her place in the field.

He said: “On form she is the best filly in Europe. She is high-class and she deserves her chance.”

Flashy Wings, winner of the Queen Mary at last year’s Royal meeting, was another to bounce back after flopping on the soft ground at Newmarket.

Her trainer Mick Channon said: “I am absolutely thrilled because the race came a bit too quick for her.

“There is more to come and I’m thrilled she’s back – she’s run her race.”

Nasheej took third at Newmarket and her trainer Richard Hannon said: “I am delighted with that. She’s a top-class filly and she has run a great race.

“I’m very happy to stand here and be third. I’d rather be in one of the first two places but this was the best Coronation Stakes for quite a while.

“I don’t know where she’ll run next and we’ll probably give her a little break.”

Speciosa has been taken the hearts of the racing public with her rags-to-riches success at Newmarket and she acquitted herself well, eventually finishing ninth just three weeks after taking fourth in the Vodafone Oaks.

Trainer Pam Sly said: “I think the ground was probably a bit quick for her.

“She’s fine and she’s going to have a rest now until the autumn – hopefully we’ll have a bit of give in the ground then.”

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