Agony to ecstasy as Oisin Murphy takes the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot

The Irish rider bounced back from missing out on the Commonwealth Cup via a stewards’ inquiry to claim victory.

Oisin Murphy and Alcohol Free.
Oisin Murphy and Alcohol Free.
Image: PA

OISIN MURPHY WAS a Group One winner again – less than half an hour after being denied in the stewards’ room – when Alcohol Free posted an emphatic Coronation Stakes success at Royal Ascot.

Murphy was first past the post on Dragon Symbol in the preceding race, but was adjudged to have caused enough interference to Campanelle that the placings were reversed.

Putting that disappointment behind him, Murphy proved why he has been champion jockey for the past two seasons with an ice-cool ride on Andrew Balding’s filly.

Winner of the Cheveley Park last season, she was only fifth in the 1000 Guineas when connections felt she was on the wrong part of the track.

Up against the Guineas heroine Mother Earth and Empress Josephine, the winner of the Irish equivalent, all the right fillies were in the line-up.

It was the German raider Novemba who set the pace and with a furlong and a half to run she had burned off half the field, although Frankie Dettori looked menacing on Pretty Gorgeous.

Her run flatted out, however, and it was Alcohol Free (11-2) who could be seen powering home down the near side with an irresistible run.

The lightly-raced Snow Lantern made late gains into second, beaten a length and a half, with Mother Earth back in third.

It was a second winner of the day for Balding who took the opening Albany Stakes with Sandrine.

Earlier, Campanelle was awarded the Commonwealth Cup following a dramatic stewards’ inquiry – having initially been beaten in a photo-finish by Dragon Symbol.

Winner of the Queen Mary 12 months ago, Campanelle was in the firing line throughout under Dettori and while all her rivals were seemingly feeling the pressure in behind, Wesley Ward’s filly was still travelling well.

However, suddenly Murphy’s mount Dragon Symbol (4-1) quickened smartly and headed Campanelle, with the two then pulling clear of the pack.

With Campanelle (5-1) drawing back alongside Dragon Symbol, Archie Watson’s three-year-old began to drift to his right, carrying the American across the track with him.

Murphy switched his whip into his right hand, getting his mount straightened up, and the two went at it hammer and tongs for the final half a furlong.

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There was little between them as they flashed by the line together, with Dragon Symbol a head in front before the inevitable inquiry was called.

The stewards took their time before announcing the revised placing, with Ward in no doubt his filly deserved the victory.

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