Alpha Centauri wins Coronation Stakes for Harrington

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Owned and bred by the Niarchos family built on a Greek shipping fortune, sired by the Danehill stallion Mastercraftsman and trained by the first lady of Irish racing Jessica Harrington, Alpha Centauri (11-4 United Kingdom, 5-2 U.S.) humbled an accomplished but overmatched field to win the Group 1 Coronation Stakes for 3-year-old fillies.

The 71-year-old Harrington, best known as a National Hunt trainer, admitted being nervous before the 1600-metre Group One race for three-year-old fillies, despite being used to success at the top level in races such as the Cheltenham Gold Cup, Champion Hurdle and Queen Mother Champion Chase.

It provided dual-purpose trainer Jessica Harrington with a first Royal Ascot victor, to add to her impressive collection which includes a Cheltenham Gold Cup and Irish National.

"I suppose we were very disappointed when we were beaten here with Alpha Centauri previous year when she was second in the Albany Stakes - but that's racing, some things happen and some things don't happen - it's great when it does all come together". Threading finished a distant second, Veracious third, English 1000 Guineas victor Billesdon Brook fourth, and the well-regarded Clemmie fifth.

Once given her head, the Irish challenger bounded clear for a hugely impressive six-length verdict in a course-record time, with Threading coming through to beat Veracious to the runner-up spot.

"She is a very big filly - she weighs 520kg - and I think when she is on soft ground she physically can't get her feet out of the ground".

"Jessie gives me the responsibility to go out there and do my job, so when it comes off, it is very satisfying". She hadn't run well on soft ground before that. Obviously, she has shown us all the potential before and we came into the race full of confidence on the back of the Guineas win.

"What she wants is good ground; what she doesn't want is heavy ground", Harrington said. Previous year we had about 16 runners and five losing favourites!

After his double on Wednesday, Sir Michael Stoute landed another Group One prize as Eqtidaar saw off 21 rivals in a thrilling finale to the Commonwealth Cup.

James McDonald's mount Equilateral finished 12th of the 22 runners.