A delighted Richard Hughes pats Sky Lantern after her Coronation winPICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
Redemption for Hughes with superb Lantern ride
Report: Royal Ascot, Friday
Coronation Stakes (British Champions Series) (Group 1) 1m, round course, 3yo fillies
CLASS will out. Richard Hughes has had a rough week but he produced a wonderful ride on Sky Lantern, who herself showed her supreme class in powering clear of Kenhope, with Just The Judge in third.
Going into the Coronation Hughes had notched two seconds and two thirds, as well as a host of unplaced efforts on some well-fancied mounts, but it takes more than a bad few days to rattle the champion jockey, who has won his first two British Classics this year and oozed confidence in the saddle.
""She made them look slow - and they're not bad," said Hughes. "You don't do those things unless the people behind you really trust you. I'm lucky.
"You've got to believe in yourself and what you do. Richard [Hannon] said go out and enjoy yourself, do what you're good at and that makes all the difference.
Hughes produced a masterclass in patience. Drawn wide he settled his mount in last and then aware of just how much horse he had he travelled wide around the field on the home turn. It was a move that forfeitted ground, but Hughes knew he could afford to and rather than hug the rail and risk meeting trouble, he decided to track Just The Judge instead.
Jamie Spencer went for the Irish 1,000 Guineas winner as the field straightened up, but so well was Hughes travelling he actually took a pull. Filling his mount up after coming from last to the head of affairs around the entire field, Hughes kicked on with a furlong and a half to travel and powered four lengths clear of the field.
"She has a real habit of getting herself into trouble," said assistant trainer Richard Hannon jnr. "She's won fair and square, we're very pleased. She's a real sweet filly and a pleasure to deal with."
Henri-Alex Pantall, trainer of the runner-up Kenhope, said: "She ran very well and she was very courageous. She didn't come though the bend too well but she finished well and showed a nice turn of foot. The owner bred her and also owns the stallion so he's very happy."
Charlie Hills said of Just The Judge: "The draw didn't help but the winner has come from 15. It confirmed to us that she needs to go up in trip to a mile and a quarter. She ran a great race and we've very proud of her. We'll think about races like the Nassau."