Royal Ascot 2018: Alpha Centauri wins Coronation Stakes for Jessica Harrington

Colm O'Donoghue on Alpha Centauri
Alpha Centauri relished the good to firm ground at Ascot

Alpha Centauri broke the track record in the Coronation Stakes to give trainer Jessica Harrington a first Royal Ascot success.

The Irish 1,000 Guineas winner, ridden by Colm O'Donoghue, powered clear for a scintillating six-length victory over runner-up Threading, with Veracious third.

Victory for the 11-4 favourite was another flat racing triumph for the Irish trainer whose successes over the jumps include last year's Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Sizing John.

"I have a lot of good people behind me, It's very special, absolutely fantastic, to have a Royal Ascot winner," said the 71-year-old.

"She was absolutely amazing. The further she went, the further she went away."

Billesdon Brook, winner of the 1,000 Guineas at Newmarket, and French Guineas winner Teppal were among her vanquished rivals.

Alpha Centauri showed her star quality, appropriately enough, by winning the one-mile race in a time of one minute, 35.89 seconds. That was 1.3 seconds inside the previous record of Barney Roy in 2017.

"She was awesome. We came into the race with a lot of confidence and it's just a pleasure to ride her," said O'Donoghue.

Analysis - 'One of the great trainers

Trainer Jessica Harrington and jockey Colm O'Donoghue
Alpha Centauri was Harrington's last runner of this year's Royal Ascot

BBC racing correspondent Cornelius Lysaght

To be successful in a Classic race, as Alpha Centauri was in Ireland, and to build on that victory so spectacularly at Royal Ascot, smashing the course record and thrashing the Newmarket Guineas winner in the process, shows quality aplenty.

This was unquestionably the performance of the week - so far, though the runners on the final day will have to go some to be better - and I'd fancy her, against either sex, in whatever races she contests in the months ahead.

But this was not just about Alpha Centauri: with success now in top-level flat as well as jump races, Jessie Harrington can genuinely be considered one of the greatest trainers.

Stoute adds to tally

Sir Michael Stoute, who became Royal Ascot's leading all-time trainer on Wednesday, took his winning tally to 78 with Eqtidaar in the Commonwealth Cup.

Former champion jockey Jim Crowley held on to score with the 12-1 chance from the fast-finishing Sands Of Mali.

There was no Royal winner as Elector, owned by the Queen, finished out of the places in the King Edward VII Stakes. Old Persian (9-2) gave Godolphin trainer Charlie Appleby his second win of the week and jockey William Buick his third.

Buick indicated that the winner could be suited to the world's oldest Classic, the St Leger at Doncaster in September.

Main Edition (7-1) swooped late under James Doyle to land the Albany Stakes. It took her unbeaten record to three and was a second consecutive Royal Ascot success for trainer Mark Johnston, who took Thursday's concluding race with Baghdad.

Agrotera landed a gamble, coming from last to first under Jamie Spencer to win the Sandringham Stakes.

A daughter of Mastercraftsman, like Alpha Centauri, the Ed Walker-trained filly had been backed from odds of 14-1 on Thursday to 11-2 favourite.

Another favourite took the day's last race - Dash Of Spice (7-2) ridden to victory by Silvestre de Sousa for trainer David Elsworth.

Horses to follow on Saturday

BBC racing correspondent Cornelius Lysaght

The success of Aussie sprinters at five Royal Ascots between 2003 and 2012 was one of the highlights of the event during those years, but none has won since Black Caviar squeaked home in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes six years ago. In 2017 there wasn't even a contender from down under.

Redkirk Warrior, formerly British and then Hong Kong-trained before being focused on sprinting by the David Hayes team in Victoria, can change all that by providing another Diamond Jubilee success (16:20) for Australia.

Redkirk Warrior
Redkirk Warrior won his last two outings before coming to Britain

Of the other runners, formbook students would expect him to again beat Merchant Navy as he did when they met in Melbourne in March, although that horse has had a couple of months with Aidan O'Brien since, while Harry Angel offers up top-notch 'home' form but it lingers in the back of the mind that he's never won in four attempts at races at Ascot.

In the Chesham Stakes (14:30), French challenger On A Session looks decent, while in the big-field Wokingham Handicap (17:00) you pays your money and you takes your choice, but the Eve Johnson-Houghton-trained Ice Age is very much on the up judged by his recent Newbury win.

Saturday's schedule

14:30: Chesham Stakes (Listed) 7f

15:05: Hardwicke Stakes (Group 2) 1m 4f

15:40: Windsor Castle Stakes (Listed) 5f

16:20: Diamond Jubilee Stakes (Group 1) 6f

17:00: Wokingham Stakes (Heritage Handicap) 6f

17:35: Queen Alexandra Stakes (Conditions) 2m 6f

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