Coronation joy for veteran Brittain

Clive Brittain declared "I’m back where I belong" as he stood in the winner’s enclosure as an 80-year-old Royal Ascot winner yesterday.

His powerful three-year-old Rizeena (11-2) had just returned to her very best to beat a competitive Coronation Stakes field by three-quarters of a length and leave her puzzling performance in the Qipco 1000 Guineas well behind.

The earliest riser in Newmarket is as constantly upbeat as he is popular, and his belief in the filly who took last season’s Queen Mary and Moyglare had not wavered as he watched Ryan Moore pilot home the latest of more than a couple of dozen Group Ones in a training career which began in 1972.

Kieren Fallon was unseated on leaving the stalls from the American raider Rosalind and first My Titania and then J Wonder found themselves slightly unwilling leaders.

This season’s Classic crop of miling fillies has not unearthed an undoubted star, with Rizeena a moderate seventh in the Guineas and missing the Irish equivalent with a nose bleed.

Moore moved from third to the front a furlong from home and had plenty of support from Rizeena to pull away from Euro Charlene, while French challenger Lesstalk In Paris was gathered up for a burst a little too late and closed in for second.

Brittain, who was not quite mobile enough to pull off his traditional victory jig, said: “I’ve still got the vibes. If you get up at 3.30am every morning you’ve got to have the vibes. I was disappointed after the Guineas and it was a matter of getting her confidence back as well as mine. I went to the doctors, and they fitted me with cheekpieces!

“Ryan rides her, he doesn’t tell stories and he told me she was back to her best.

“We could have won the Irish 1,000 Guineas, I was certain we could have gone to France, but we went to Newmarket.

“The only thing at the back of my mind was that three times already she’d been to Newmarket and three times she hadn’t won. Maybe it’s the undulations and the downhill. But I was confident before the Guineas and I was confident today. She just had to turn up and do what she can do.”

Brittain was brave with three other top-drawer fillies he trained, Pebbles, Sayyedati and User Friendly, and he will be as brave campaigning Rizeena.

He said: “I’ve never been frightened of one horse and I’d not be afraid of taking on the colts again like we did last year. I think we’ll come back here for the big meeting (Champions Day). The QEII, why not?”

My Titania, a well-regarded filly by trainer John Oxx, was having her first run of the year after ground and fitness issues and stayed on again for fourth.

Oxx said: “They didn’t go very fast and Declan (McDonogh, jockey) said the ground wasn’t fast enough for her. She does merit a run over a mile and a quarter at some stage.

“There is the Nassau, but at the moment she is fairly keen, so we might have her next run over shorter than that. The Matron Stakes would be a long-term major target for her.”

The flop was 5-2 favourite and dual Guineas runner-up Lightning Thunder, who was ninth.

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