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Judge can lay down the law


Michael Hills riding Just The Judge. Photo: Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images

Michael Hills riding Just The Judge. Photo: Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images

Michael Hills riding Just The Judge. Photo: Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images

LADIES dressed in their glad rags and all their finery is one of the highlights of Royal Ascot, but tomorrow's action is all about the fillies and an absolutely cracking renewal of the Coronation Stakes for three-year-old fillies is the highlight.

Run over a mile – and restricted to three-year-old fillies – what more could you ask for than a clash between both the English and Irish 1000 Guineas winners, who, incidentally, were also only separated by half-a-length when they met in the Newmarket race?

Well, this race has got more. While the two Guineas fillies, Sky Lantern and Just The Judge, are the pair that set the standard and dictate the level that the rest of the field have to reach, the Irish challenge is extremely strong with Big Break, Rehn's Nest and Viztoria all holding strong form claims and Snow Queen earning natural respect coming from Ballydoyle quarters.

Of the Irish challenge, which also includes outsider Mizzava for Mick Halford, all bar one have had a go at Just The Judge in the Irish 1000 Guineas at the Curragh, while Snow Queen also lined up behind Sky Lantern. The filly that is yet to have a cut at the very best around is Eddie Lynam's Viztoria.

Lynam proved that he is more than capable of producing Royal Ascot winners earlier in the week with Sole Power winning on day one. Johnny Murtagh is undoubtedly worth a length or two around Ascot, and it will be very interesting to see how she fares on this step up in class.

A concern that looms over Viztoria is whether or not she will be as effective on quick ground as she is on soft and it may be argued that Dermot Weld's Big Break is also better with a slight cut in it, so that is a minor negative for those two.

Those that have finished behind Sky Lantern and Just The Judge in the past could have little in the way of excuses, although one who may have been slightly unlucky in running at the Curragh was the Jim Bolger-trained Rehn's Nest and we have all seen how much of a masterful trainer he is.

We saw yesterday that Camelot was unable to turn the form with Al Kazeem, but for this one, Just The Judge has the ability to turn around the English Guineas defeat to Sky Lantern and come out on top.

Charlie Hills' filly earned some compensation for Newmarket when winning at the Curragh, but those who can reflect back on the English Guineas will remember how Jamie Spencer's filly looked all over the winner until being collared by Richard Hughes in the closing stages.

And while it's clear little separates the pair, maybe this will be Just The Judge's day.