Winter prepares for Coronation

Dual Classic heroine Winter is the star attraction in the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot on Friday.

Aidan O’Brien’s filly caused a minor upset when she saw off better-fancied stablemate Rhododendron in the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket in early May, but proved that was no fluke with an authoritative success in the Irish equivalent at the Curragh three weeks later.

Stablemate Churchill came up a long way short in his bid for Royal Ascot glory in the St James’s Palace Stakes on Tuesday and connections will be hoping Winter does not suffer the same fate.

O’Brien said: “David (Wachman, former trainer) always thought the world of her last year and obviously we were delighted with her first start back at Leopardstown (second in Guineas Trial) and her progress since.

“I think she’s versatile regards the ground. It was nice, quick ground at Newmarket and slow at the Curragh, but she seemed fine on both and we are very happy with her.”

The Ballydoyle handler also saddles Roly Poly and Hydrangea, who were second and third behind Winter at the Curragh last month.

The home team is headed by the John Gosden-trained Dabyah.

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The daughter of Sepoy has not been seen since winning the Fred Darling at Newbury in April.

Bruce Raymond, racing manager to owner Abdullah Saeed Al Naboodah, said: “She got a bit of a temperature, which meant she missed the trip to France and after that John Gosden said we’d head straight to the Coronation Stakes.

“She’s going back up to a mile, but she should stay.

“She’s obviously got to step up, but she’s been working well and John’s horses are in good form, so we’re hopeful.”

Tomyris is stepped up in grade by Roger Varian following a maiden win at Newmarket and a Listed success at York so far this term.

The field is completed by Mark Casse’s American challenger La Coronel and Fabrice Chappet’s shock French 1000 Guineas winner Precieuse, who was supplemented for the race.

Olivier Peslier takes the ride on Chappet’s charge and said: “She is well and won well in the French Guineas.

“That was a big surprise as it was her first time over a mile after five runs over six furlongs, but she relaxed well and got the distance well.

“Now she has to confirm she gets the distance on a tough track like Ascot. She has a lot of speed.

“It’s a very competitive race.”

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