Racing: Damson adds rosy tint to Fallon's title hopes

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The Independent Online

Kieren Fallon is to be reunited with crack Irish filly Damson in the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot at York on Friday. Fallon had been expected to take the ride aboard Aidan O'Brien's 1,000 Guineas winner, Virginia Waters, but will instead partner David Wachman's daughter of Entrepreneur. Virginia Waters will now be ridden by Johnny Murtagh.

Kieren Fallon is to be reunited with crack Irish filly Damson in the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot at York on Friday. Fallon had been expected to take the ride aboard Aidan O'Brien's 1,000 Guineas winner, Virginia Waters, but will instead partner David Wachman's daughter of Entrepreneur. Virginia Waters will now be ridden by Johnny Murtagh.

The jockey's association with the filly has come about through his Coolmore retainer, as both horses are owned by Sue Magnier and Michael Tabor.

Damson landed the Queen Mary Stakes at the Royal meeting 12 months ago but was ruled out of the Guineas at Newmarket through illness, while soft ground was against her when she was ninth in the Irish equivalent under Jamie Spencer.

"She seems in good form and hopefully the weather won't be too bad for her up here as she wants quick ground," said Wachman on his arrival in Britain from his Co Tipperary base.

"I think and hope that she has come on for her first run, and she would appreciate true ground."

The opportunity to ride Damson increases Fallon's chances of landing the trophy for top jockey at the meeting, for which he was already 7-4 favourite with Totesport. The firm cut Damson into 3-1 from 4-1 for the Coronation, while pushing out Virginia Waters to 7-2.

CORONATION STAKES (Friday) : William Hill: 5-2 Damson, 3-1 Virginia Waters, 6-1 Discuss, Maids Causeway, 8-1 Karen's Caper, 9-1 Utterly Heaven, 10-1 others. Totesport: 3-1 Damson, 7-2 Virginia Waters, 6-1 Discuss, Maids Causeway, 8-1 others.

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