Guineas glory for Marlborough duo

Marlborough trainer Richard Hannon

Marlborough trainer Richard Hannon

First published in Sport

SKY Lantern finished strongly to claim the Qipco 1000 Guineas at Newmarket yesterday.

Trained by Marlborough handler Richard Hannon and ridden by Richard Hughes, the grey filly was a 9-1 shot to claim Classic glory having been beaten by the reopposing Hot Snap in the Nell Gwyn Stakes on her seasonal return.

The unbeaten Just The Judge looked likely to win when quickening up to lead heading inside the final furlong, but she was collared in the closing stages by Sky Lantern, who struck by half a length. Aidan O'Brien's Moth was third.

Champion jockey Hughes, who was claiming his first domestic Classic triumph, said: “They didn't go over fast - it was all about giving her plenty of cover. She was tough to see it out to the line.”

Sky Lantern showed top-class form in her juvenile year, during which she won the Group One Moyglare Stud Stakes at the Curragh.

She appeared well held by Hot Snap on their recent course meeting but while that filly disappointed, Hannon's inmate rose to the challenge admirably to give an emotional Hughes a keynote success.

The victory comes 24 hours after Hannon's Toronado disappointed in the 2000 Guineas under Hughes.

Hughes said: “My wife was so upset (after Toronado's defeat) - I was consoling her all night - but today was great.

“I believed in this filly. I knew I gave her a bad ride the last day, but she's a good filly and loves that fast ground. It's thoroughly deserved. It's taken a long time (to win a British Classic).”

Just The Judge ran a superb race to fill the runner-up spot for trainer Charlie Hills and jockey Jamie Spencer.

Curragh maiden winner Moth, supplemented at a cost of £30,000, looked green coming out of the dip but finished off well to pick up minor honours.

Richard Hannon jnr, the Marlborough handler's son and assistant, said: “We were pretty low after yesterday. It was a very disappointing, but she deserved a bit of luck, this filly.

“She went to America (Breeders' Cup) and didn't get any luck and then she bumped into a very good filly (Hot Snap) who didn't run her race today.

“I'm delighted for Hughesie. He's one of the best jockeys ever and I'm just delighted he's done it on one of ours."

Hughes said Toronado ‘coughed a lot’ following his disappointing fourth in the Qipco 2000 Guineas on Saturday.

Hannon's three-year-old went into his Classic assignment unbeaten in four starts and off the back of a hugely impressive display in the Craven Stakes over the course and distance.

However, he was unable to put it up to Dawn Approach, who streaked clear for an emphatic victory.

The champion jockey believes there may have been an excuse for that reverse, though, and is confident Toronado will show his true colours this summer.

Hughes told Racing UK: “I still believe he's one of the best I've ever ridden. He coughed a lot after the race and I knew he wasn't right.

“I know he's a good horse and he won't let me down - he'll bounce back.”

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