Illuminate lights up Ascot
Illuminate gave Richard Hughes the first winner of his final Royal Ascot as a jockey as the Zoffany filly took the Albany Stakes in style for Richard Hannon.
Frankie Dettori set a suicidal gallop on Wesley Ward’s Laxfield Road who faded quickly to leave Illuminate in front and she stretched out nicely to win from Ashadihan who was Kevin Ryan’s third runner-up of the week. French hope Elegant Supermodel was third.
Hughes was relieved after the 4-1 favourite got him off the mark this week. He said: “Things weren’t going right but I felt they had to get better. I never stopped believing they would. It was nice to do it, but not the end of things if I didn’t.
It was Hughes’ 30th Royal Ascot winner, a sequence started by Sergeyev in the Jersey Stakes 20 years ago. He said: “That’s a nice number to get to, no-one would remember 29. The best horse I rode here was Canford Cliffs, who won three years in a row.”
Any worries about the quick ground were allayed on the way down to post with Hughes saying: “She absolutely floated down. I would say that I was 20 lengths off the leader at halfway but she travelled real good and moved real good. She moves like a filly that will stay. She doesn’t move like a sprinter, she has a great action.”
StanJames.com made her the 16-1 favourite for next year’s 1000 Guineas with next month’s Duchess of Cambridge Stakes (formerly the Cherry Hinton) her immediate target.
Rory Jiwani 19/06/15
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