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Hughes 'lucky' to conquer 'nation

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Richard Hughes (R) rides Sky Lantern to victory in the Coronation Stakes during the fourth day of the Royal Ascot horse racing festival at Ascot, southern England, June 21, 2013. REUTERS/Darren Staples   (BRITAIN - Tags: SPORT HORSE RACING SOCIETY)

Richard Hughes (R) rides Sky Lantern to victory in the Coronation Stakes during the fourth day of the Royal Ascot horse racing festival at Ascot, southern England, June 21, 2013. REUTERS/Darren Staples (BRITAIN - Tags: SPORT HORSE RACING SOCIETY)

Richard Hughes (R) rides Sky Lantern to victory in the Coronation Stakes during the fourth day of the Royal Ascot horse racing festival at Ascot, southern England, June 21, 2013. REUTERS/Darren Staples (BRITAIN - Tags: SPORT HORSE RACING SOCIETY)

Champion jockey Richard Hughes has enjoyed many big-race successes at Royal Ascot, but 12 months ago the Curragh native left without passing the judge in front once.

Twenty races into this year's meeting and he still had no winner but many hard luck stories to rue over, until yesterday's Coronation Stakes changed all of that.

Aboard his first ever British Classic winner Sky Lantern, Hughes was once again coolness personified, looking on from the back of the field as the race unfolded before making his move on the outside.

Sky Lantern went on to win by a comprehensive four lengths, earning a complimentary and somewhat emotional pat from Hughes.

Sky Lantern collared Just The Judge in the shadows of the Newmarket post for the English 1000 Guineas and the latter then went on to gain compensation in the Irish equivalent.

But, despite being the early morning favourite to reverse that form, Just The Judge had to settle for third place under Jamie Spencer.

The Irish challenge for the Coronation Stakes appeared a strong one.

However, it was the complete outsider of the raiders from these shores, Mizzava, who was fifth for Mick Halford, while Viztoria and Big Break were sixth and seventh respectively.

 

FRUSTRATING

Hughes, who turned his fortunes after a frustrating week, said: "You have to have people behind you who trust you – I'm lucky. You have to believe in yourself and what you do. Richard (Hannon) said, 'Go out there and enjoy yourself and do what you're good at', and that makes all the difference."

Richard Hannon Jnr, the son of the winning trainer and namesake said: "I was just saying to Hughesie, this filly has a real habit of getting herself into sh*t, but she's won well and she's a really good filly.

"I think the race suited her. They went very quick and she came from a wide draw and she's a very good filly who is a pleasure to deal with and I'm very pleased."

Bookmakers Paddy Power made Sky Lantern a 16/1 chance for the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe.

Johnny Murtagh steered his third winner of the week from a limited supply when the multi-tasking trainer won on Nicky Henderson's Forgotten Voice.

Murtagh had won the Hunt Cup on Forgotten Voice in 2008 but having not run on the flat for over 1,000 days and a campaign over jumps, Forgotten Voice showed his class and versatility to win the Wolferton Handicap over 1m2f to give Henderson a third Royal Ascot winner.


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