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Porta Fortuna powers past Opera Singer to claim Coronation honours

3 minute read

Donnacha O'Brien and Tom Marquand both got off the mark for the week at Royal Ascot when Porta Fortuna struck in the Group 1 Coronation Stakes on Friday.

PORTA FORTUNA winning the Coronation Stakes at Ascot in England.
PORTA FORTUNA winning the Coronation Stakes at Ascot in England. Picture: Andrew Redington/Getty Images

An impressive winner to get her trainer off the mark at the royal meeting in the Albany Stakes last season, the Donnacha O'Brien-trained filly was sent off a 7/2 chance on the back of her near miss behind the reopposing 1000 Guineas heroine Elmalka.

Roger Varian's filly swooped late to deny both Porta Fortuna and the French raider Ramatuelle at Newmarket last month, but she never looked like being able to land a blow in a race that was dominated by those positioned towards the fore.

Ryan Moore made his intentions clear from the off, moving Opera Singer from stall nine into a prominent position to track the pace-setting Skellet. Aidan O'Brien's impressive Qatar Prix Marcel Boussac winner looked to have every chance as the field turned for home, but it would be son Donnacha O'Brien's Porta Fortuna who would display the brighter turn of foot in the closing stages, going on to score by a comfortable length at the line.

The 15/8 market leader Ramatuelle travelled kindly for much of the mile contest in the hands of Oisin Murphy for the first time, but she too failed to pick up in the closing stages and had to settle for the bronze medal position, just as she did at Newmarket in the 1000 Guineas Stakes last month.

"She made it extremely easy," said the winning jockey, who was enjoying a sixth career success at Royal Ascot.

"She such a cool customer, she had that near miss in the Guineas and didn't really show much of a turn of foot that day, she looked like a grinder, but on this flatter surface, with something to aim at, she was electric from the two.

"These rides are hard enough to come by, let alone to keep them and I'm very fortunate to be on board her today. Donnacha (O'Brien, trainer) and the team's family are woven into racing history, but they are a young team, in reality, so to be on one for them is fantastic."

O'Brien added: "She's so uncomplicated, Tom gave her a lovely ride, I was happy the whole way and everything went to plan. It's not too often you can say that, so I'm delighted.

"All along, she hasn't got the credit she deserves. She's never missed a beat; she had two runs before Royal Ascot last year and has literally never missed a race since. She's incredibly sound, incredibly tough. It's a testament to all the team at home, Anyone that has anything to do with her at home, I'm so proud of them and all the work they do.

"Newmarket is tough, there are a few ridges, they go a hard gallop and there are no hiding places. I think a mile is probably her maximum because she's got so much speed. On a turning track like this, Tom was able to sit on her and use that turn of foot that she has."

Paddy Power made the winner their new 3/1 favourite (from 10s) for the Falmouth Stakes at Newmarket, while the same firm pushed the runner-up and original market leader Opera Singer out a point to 4/1.

On the prospect of running in the Falmouth Stakes, O'Brien continued: "Races like the Falmouth might be in the plan; the owners are an American group so I'd say an end-of-year plan would be the Breeders' Cup."

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