ASCOT // Dubai-owned 1,000 Guineas winner Ghanaati emerged victorious in the Group One Coronation Stakes yesterday beating the best three-year-old fillies from Ireland and France in record time. Running in only her fourth race, Ghanaati, the surprise but deserving winner of the Classic mile race at Newmarket last month, performed even better at Royal Ascot's most prestigious fillies' race to claim a fourth win this week for owner, Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid, Deputy Ruler of Dubai, who also bred the filly.
Sheikh Hamdan had earlier triumphed in another fillies' race, the Group Three Albany Stakes for two-year-olds. But it was Ghanaati's success that captured hearts and minds with emotional scenes from the family of winning trainer Barry Hills. He is battling throat cancer and has been ill in hospital with blood poisoning this week. His son, Richard, who rode the winner, said the victory would cheer his father who has not done badly this week after also winning with Vision d'Etat in the Prince of Wales Stakes.
"Riding a winner in the Coronation Stakes would be one way to cheer him up," said a visibly moved Richard. "I almost lost my father, thank God I didn't. This victory means more to me than any race I've won. I'm very proud and admit I've worn my heart on my sleeve." Second was Alain de Royer Dupre's French filly, Reggane, while John Gosden's Rainbow View crossed third. Henry Cecil clocked his 71st Royal Ascot winner when Father Time won the King Edward VII Stakes under Eddie Ahern. He had been stuck on 70 winners for seven years, but the son of Dansili beat challenges from Hail Ceasar and Black Bear Island.
Godolphin were just pipped in a mighty contest for the 1m 2f Listed Wolferton Handicap Stakes when Frankie Dettori's ride, Moonquake, lost out to Ryan Moore, securing his first Royal Ascot win this year aboard Perfect Stride for Sir Michael Stoute. Sheikh Ahmed bin Rashid's Dhushan went off too keenly in the two mile Queen's Vase capitulating when turned into the traffic. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed's Holberg, trained by Mark Johnston under Joe Fanning, swept to the line with Aidan O'Brien's Yankee Doodle getting second for Moore and Godolphin third with Dettori on Mastery.