Belfast Telegraph

Monday 15 September 2014

Rizeena is crowned the winner thanks to royal triumph

Octogenarian owner back in big time thanks to royal triumph

Out in front: Ryan Moore drives Rizeena (left) to victory in the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot yesterday

Clive Brittain declared "I'm back where I belong" as he stood in the winner's enclosure as an 80-year-old Royal Ascot winner.

His powerful three-year-old Rizeena (11-2) had just returned to her very best to beat a competitive Coronation Stakes field by three-quarters of a length and leave her puzzling performance in the Qipco 1000 Guineas well behind.

The earliest riser in Newmarket is as constantly upbeat as he is popular, and his belief in the filly who took last season's Queen Mary and Moyglare had not wavered as he watched Ryan Moore pilot home the latest of more than a couple of dozen Group Ones in a training career which began in 1972.

Kieren Fallon was unseated on leaving the stalls from the American raider Rosalind and first My Titania and then J Wonder found themselves slightly unwilling leaders.

This season's Classic crop of miling fillies has not unearthed an undoubted star, with Rizeena a moderate seventh in the Guineas.

Moore moved from third to the front a furlong from home and had plenty of support from Rizeena to pull away from Euro Charlene, while French challenger Lesstalk In Paris was gathered up for a burst a little too late .

Brittain, who was not quite mobile enough to pull off his traditional victory jig, said: "I've still got the vibes. If you get up at 3.30am every morning you've got to have the vibes.

"I was disappointed after the Guineas and it was a matter of getting her confidence back.

"Ryan rides her, he doesn't tell stories and he told me she was back to her best.

"The only thing at the back of my mind at Newmarket was that three times already she'd been to Newmarket and three times she hadn't won. Maybe it's the undulations.

"But I was confident before the Guineas and I was confident today. She just had to turn up and do what she can do."

Brittain was brave with three other top-drawer fillies he trained, Pebbles, Sayyedati and User Friendly, and he will be as brave campaigning Rizeena.

He said: "I've never been frightened of one horse and I'd not be afraid of taking on the colts again like we did last year.

"I think we'll come back here for the big meeting (Champions Day). The QEII, why not?

"I've only got two good three-year-olds, her and Bravos, who was beaten by the ground in the Jersey Stakes.

"I've got 21 two-year-olds and I've turned them over now. I've got some quality and I think eight will be Listed or Group."

Moore said: "It's great for Clive. I've had a few early mornings (on the gallops), but it's worked out in the end!

"She was the best filly last year. She won the Queen Mary. I'm delighted for everyone.

"It was a long way that last furlong, but she was the fastest horse in the race and she's just done enough."

Jean-Claude Rouget, trainer of Lesstalk In Paris, said: "I like my horses to run well and this was a good recovery for her.

"You're always asking yourself questions after a run like that and she was in season as well.

"The form line of her win in the Prix de la Grotte was not working out good, but today we are reassured about her.

"I think we will stick to our garden and run her in Deauville next, in the Prix Rothschild."

Euro Charline belongs to the American-based Team Valor syndicate and trainer Marco Botti said: "The owners are aiming to run her at Saratoga in July, so obviously I will lose her.

"She was probably a bit unlucky. The gap came a little tight and she had to squeeze through, which probably cost her second."

My Titania, a well-regarded filly by trainer John Oxx, was having her first run of the year after ground and fitness issues and stayed on again for fourth.

Oxx said: "They didn't go very fast and Declan (McDonogh, jockey) said the ground wasn't fast enough for her. She does merit a run over a mile and a quarter at some stage.

"There is the Nassau, but at the moment she is fairly keen, so we might have her next run over shorter. The Matron Stakes would be a long-term target."

The flop was 5-2 favourite and dual Guineas runner-up Lightning Thunder, who was ninth.

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