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Sky Lantern out to hit the heights again

6 Jul 2013

Sky Lantern is on course for the Etihad Airways Falmouth Stakes on Friday, race four in the Fillies & Mares division, but she will face her toughest opposition yet as she meets some top class older fillies for the first time.

The sensational Sky Lantern is looking to extend her winning run. Image courtesy of racingfotos.com.

The brilliant filly Sky Lantern heads five top-class confirmations for the Etihad Airways Falmouth Stakes, the glittering highlight of Abu Dhabi Day on day two of the Piper-Heidsieck July Festival at Newmarket’s July Course on Friday (12th July).

The Richard Hannon-trained three-year-old will be looking to notch up a third successive Group 1 victory in Britain’s first top-level race of the season for three-year-old and older fillies and mares.

She came with a late run to take the QIPCO 1000 Guineas on Newmarket’s Rowley Mile in May by half a length from Just The Judge.

Next time she impressively extended her domination of her own generation in the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot when defeating the same filly by an easy four lengths.

She may have scared off some of the potential opposition in Friday’s £180,000 one-mile contest, but she is nevertheless set to face her toughest task yet with three top class older fillies and mares confirmed.

They include the one-two from this race last year, Giofra and dual Group 1 winner Elusive Kate.

Also standing her ground is Ireland’s top female miler, Duntle, who has been first-past-the-post on her last five starts although lost the Group 1 Matron Stakes in the stewards’ room last September.

The last of the select quintet is a second three-year-old, the highly regarded Purr Along, who ran Certify to a head in the Group 2 May Hill Stakes at Doncaster last year. Her connections indicated that she needed the run when eighth to Sky Lantern in the Coronation Stakes on her first start of this season.

She could be Frankie Dettori’s first Group 1 ride for his new retained owner, Sheikh Joaan Al Thani.

Richard Hannon Jr, son and assistant to his father, said of Sky Lantern today: “She is in such good form that we may as well get on and run.

“She has come out of Ascot so well, we are very pleased with her and both the firm ground and the track should suit.

“She has been moving well since Ascot. She has done a piece of work and Hughesie was very happy so we are going to go for it.

“She has put on more condition since Ascot and in total has put on 25 kilos since the Guineas, which is a hell of a lot for a filly. She is looking better than ever.

“She proved by some distance at Ascot that she was the best of her generation although I was impressed with the way Purr Along ran there and she will obviously improve a lot for the run.

“I honestly don’t know how this year’s three-year-olds will compare with the older horses, but the handicapper only has her one pound in front of Elusive Kate. She and Giofra are already proven at Group 1 level while Duntle is a Royal Ascot winner – we will just have to wait until Friday to see how they match up.”

Tickets and admission: Advance purchasers of tickets in the Premier and Grandstand & Paddock Enclosures receive at least 10 per cent off the on-the-day prices which are: Premier £40; Grandstand&Paddock £23; Family £10 (no discounts). Accompanied under 18s are admitted free of charge.

First race-time is 1.40pm on Friday, July 12. Telephone: 0844 579 3010 Online: newmarketracecourses.co.uk