The Jessica Harrington-trained Alpine Star (9/2) emulated her half-sister Alpha Centauri (the winner in 2018) when storming to victory in the Group 1 Coronation Stakes on the final day of Royal Ascot 2020.
The three-year-old Sea The Moon filly was the only Irish-trained winner on Saturday, meaning Ireland-based trainers had one winner each day of the meeting.
Owned by the Niarchos Family, Alpine Star, who was making her first start of 2020, responded well to Frankie Dettori and took up the running entering the final furlong. The filly stayed on strongly for a four and a quarter length victory over the American challenger Sharing (16/5), with Roger Charlton’s 2/1f Quadrilateral a further length and three-quarters back in third.
Winning trainer Jessica Harrington, who was unable to attend Royal Ascot his year, said of today’s win:
“It is absolutely amazing because I am sitting here (at home), I can’t go racing, and watching it on the telly is very hard. I could not believe it because she was the only horse in the field that hadn’t had a run this year, but she is amazing. She is a half-sister to a complete superstar, Alpha Centauri, who gave me my first Royal Ascot winner. She was just amazing today, she did it so easy.”
The Co. Kildare-based handler continued:
“She is very laidback and nothing like Alpha Centauri, who was a great big, very imposing filly. This filly is not very big, she is not a great colour – a little bit of a mealy chestnut. If you saw her trotting around in the string, you wouldn’t pick her out, but she has the most wonderful attitude. Frankie was probably squeezing her along before she turned in but every time you give her a squeeze, she will come for you.”
Jessica Harrington was represented at Royal Ascot by her son-in-law Richie Galway who said:
“Alpine Star is a straightforward filly. Jessie sends anything that she runs at Ascot to stay with her great pal Nicky Henderson in Lambourn, he has been hugely helpful and he is going to claim credit for this! They have a fairly tried and tested routine, and the filly is straightforward – she’s very relaxed, very easy to handle, travels very well, so from that point of view the only logistical issue is that unfortunately Jessie, Emma, Kate and the Niarchos family – and Shane; Frankie Dettori, what a sub to have, and amazing that he hasn’t won a Coronation Stakes before, brilliant to get him – but the amount of work that Shane Foley has done on the filly at home has made today possible.”
The victory was jockey Frankie Dettori’s first success in the Group 1 Coronation Stakes, meaning he has now won every Group 1 race run at Royal Ascot, and incredibly only needs to win Newmarket’s July Cup to have won every British Group 1 race.
The winning rider said of Alpha Star:
“I really fancied Alpine Star. I didn’t want to jinx it, so I kept quiet. I kept it quiet and knew she was an exciting ride. Everything went to plan in the race. I had a decent draw. I hit a flat spot and I got the split on the fence and then the rest was history. She will definitely get the mile and a quarter, she did all her best work at the end, the mile and a half? I really don’t know, I will leave to Maria Niarchos and Jessie to talk about.”
2.25pm Coronation Stakes (Group 1) (British Champions Series)
1 Alpine Star Jessica Harrington 3-9-00 Frankie Dettori 9/2
2 Sharing Graham Motion USA 2-9-00 Oisín Murphy 16/5
3 Quadrilateral Roger Charlton 3-9-00 Jason Watson 2/1f
Distances: 4¼, 1¾l
Time: 1m 42.21s