ASCOT, England--Spendarella, undefeated in three previous races in this country, ran a superb race in the Group 1, 1 mile $675,000 Coronation Cup on the turf on June 17 at Royal Ascot, just beaten by the great race filly Inspiral but beating a strong field of 10 3-year-old fillies that included a number of Group 1 winners.
"I would rather be in the winner's circle," said trainer Graham Motion. “But she ran great. I couldn’t be more proud of her. William (Buick) had her in the perfect spot; she was very brave to hang on for second, I thought, to be honest."
Rather than taking an American jockey to England, Motion, a native of Great Britain, chose to ride Buick, a top English jockey,, saying he decided to use a rider familiar with the track.
“The winner’s very good," said Motion. Spenderella’s very tough. I think she’s a Grade One filly and she proved that today. She’ll go back to the States now. I think she’s really a miler, she showed that today, and we’ll need to look at that schedule.
“I don’t come over here really just for the hell of it," said Motion, looking very dapper in his morning coat during his interview following the race,. "I have to feel good about it to come. We’ve run second a couple of times now, so I feel like I know what it takes, and this filly was very good today — the winner — but I think we’ve proved we’re Grade One class.”
Motion previously saddle Sharing to also place second in the Coronation Cup in 2020.
MOTION later said they are considering leaving Gainesway Farm's Spendarella in England to contest another filly mile race.
Inspiral had had a lengthy absence but she finished with a scintillating display in the Coronation Stakes.
The daughter of Frankel was the undoubted star juvenile filly of last season, winning each of her four starts including a Group One triumph in the Fillies’ Mile at Newmarket.
Given a confident ride by Frankie Dettori, Inspiral was still well back in the field turning for home, but flew down the straight to mow down the pacesetters and then found another gear to pull 4 3/4 lengths clear of American raider Spendarella.
It was a case of what a difference 24 hours makes for trainer and jockey, who suffered misfortune with both Stradivarius and Saga on Thursday.
Stradavarius, looking for his third win in the $675,000, 2 1/2 mile Gold Cup, got caught inside and had to pull back and go very wide to get racing room, but he lost too much ground and finished third, a placement many blamed on Dettori for allowing him to be boxed in.
Then on Her Majesty the Queen's Saga in the $162,000 Britannia Stakes, Dettori was beaten a neck by Thesis.
Wesley Ward,, who has run a number of horses at Ascot annually, scoring a number of wins, didn't have a winner this year, with his best placing coming with Campanelle, ridden by Irad Ortiz, who dead heated for third with Artorius (Aus) behind Navel Crown (GB) and Creative Force(Ire) in the $1,350,000, 6 furlong Platinum Stakes on Ascot's closing day, June 18.
Ortiz had previously fallen victim to one of the differences in rules in English racing from the rules in this country.
Ortiz had issues at Royal Ascot on Tuesday with Ward's sprinter Golden Pal in the Group 1 King's Stand Stakes.
Ortiz was watching a misbehaving horse behind the gates, not realizing the horse had been scratched, and was not prepared when the gates opened.
Golden Pal thus missed the break, nearly unseating Ortiz, and after rushing up to the field wound up fading to finish last.
In the U.S., with handlers at the horses' heads, gates don't open until all are ready.
This just underscored Motion's wise decision to have a top English jockey ride Spendarella.
Another rule difference occurred in the first race of day three at Ascot, when The Ridler, ridden by Paul Hanagan, crossed across half the field, completely cutting off Brave Nation, who ended fourth, and bothering Crispy Cat, who ended up third, an infraction that would have disqualified him from first to fourth in this country.
But in England, if the stewards feel the horse cut off wouldn't have won the race, the results stand, but the rider is given a fine and days suspension.
One rider commented that "It's beginning to be the wild west out there," as the rider that committed the infraction gets to keep the 10 percent rider's share of the purse, thus making it worthwhile in races with a big purse for jockeys to break the rules to win.