Pearl divinely bright in Coronation

Royal Ascot: The Irish take the biggest prize but lend an air of Cheltenham exuberance to the Flat's more staid premier Festival; GREG WOOD reports from Ascot

For a few exhilarating minutes yesterday, Ascot was in Gloucestershire. Ridgewood Pearl had won the Coronation Stakes for Ireland, and the winner's enclosure was seized by a delight rarely seen outside Cheltenham, an exuberance so strong that even Sean Coughlan's tightly-buttoned waistcoat could not contain it.

Coughlan, Ridgewood Pearl's owner and breeder, has now brought a horse to the Royal meeting four times and left as a winner on every occasion, so it was little surprise to find joy bubbling out of him so rapidly that no one else could keep up.

"I'm the luckiest man on earth," Coughlan said with little danger of contradiction, "and I'm very lucky to be mixed up with John Oxx [the filly's trainer]. He said this morning that the going was perfect for us, and she's proved that by beating the course record."

The going was the reason that Ridgewood Pearl started at 9-2, despite her convincing defeat of Harayir, the 15-8 favourite yesterday, in the Irish 1,000 Guineas on a soft surface at The Curragh last month. From the off, though, both Ridgewood Pearl and her rider, John Murtagh, were clearly as satisfied with the fast going as the rest of her connections, and the race was over the instant Murtagh kicked on two furlongs out. Smolensk ran on into second, with Harayir a forlorn and well-beaten third.

Next it was cue Coughlan, and he did not disappoint. There was the story of his yellow and white silks, chosen to match the colours of the Pope, and of his arrival in Britain 38 years ago without even the money to buy a beer. There was fulsome praise, too, for John Oxx, and gratitude to an even higher influence.

"I always talk to God," Coughlan said. "Before I get up I talk to God, when I'm in bed I talk to God and in the middle of the night I talk to God. It has always worked very well for me."

On a more secular note, Cilldara Golf Club, near The Curragh, is the only place to be this weekend. "On Sunday we'll be having the biggest party there ever was," Coughlan said, and you felt sure that the whole world was invited.

Oxx was saddling his first winner at the Royal meeting, and he was not alone. David Loder, too, was enjoying the moment after Blue Duster's success in the Queen Mary Stakes, and the relaxed manner of her victory suggested that we will see few better juveniles fillies this season, even if the quotes of 14-1 for the 1996 1,000 Guineas are a little extreme.

Loder's strike-rate with two-year-olds this year is now 12 winners from 16 runners, but the trainer seemed sure that Blue Duster is the best of his juveniles. "There's one or two nice ones to come, but for me this filly has always been the star," he said. "She's just so laid-back and you don't know how much is in the tank."

The ease of Michael Kinane's victory on Blue Duster was matched only, surprisingly, by his later success on Realities in the Royal Hunt Cup. After following Chickawicka's lead down the far side, Michael Kinane sent Realities past Darnay, the top weight, with a minimum of fuss to win easing up by a length and a quarter.

Kinane had to work much harder on Stelvio in the Queen's Vase, but he eventually coaxed (some might say forced) Henry Cecil's runner past Double Eclipse in the final strides, having looked a lost cause three out. The treble left Kinane the hot favourite to be the meeting's leading rider, with four winners to his credit already, ahead of Willie Carson on two, and half a dozen with a single success.

One of that number is Richard Hughes, who steered Sergeyev to victory in the Jersey Stakes and started a sequence which saw an Irish jockey aboard every one of the afternoon's winners. Ireland dominated the Royal meeting in every way yesterday, and Ascot was immeasurably the better for it.

Results, page 27

Sport
football This was Kane’s night, even if he played just a small part of it
Travel
travel Dreamland Margate, Britain’s oldest amusement park, is set to reopen
News
news
News
Founders James Brown and Tim Southwell with a mock-up of the first ever ‘Loaded’ magazine in 1994
media
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Threlfall says: 'I am a guardian of the reality keys. I think I drive directors nuts'
people
Voices
voices The group has just unveiled a billion dollar plan to help nurse the British countryside back to health
News
The Westgate, a gay pub in the centre of Gloucester which played host to drag queens, has closed
news
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Practice Accountant - Bournemouth - £38,000

£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped commission: SThree: Does earning a 6 figu...

Recruitment Genius: SEO Executive

£18000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: New Lift Sales Executive - Lift and Elevators

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A challenging opportunity for a...

Day In a Page

The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss