Porta Fortuna edges out Opera Singer to claim Coronation Stakes

Porta Fortuna gained 1000 Guineas redemption in the Coronation Stakes and claimed Royal Ascot glory for a second successive year.

The daughter of Caravaggio got trainer Donnacha O’Brien off the mark at the meeting in the Albany Stakes 12 months ago and was back to do the double this time around.

Sent to Newmarket for the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket last month, she found just Roger Varian’s Rowley Mile heroine Elmalka too good as she picked up a silver medal.

However, she reversed that form in style, always ridden close to the pace set by Skellet and Opera Singer and picking up beautifully when asked by jockey Tom Marquand.

Porta Fortuna edged out Opera Singer, who is trained by O’Brien’s father Aidan, to give her handler family bragging rights.

French raider Ramatuelle was sent off the 15-8 favourite and filled the same position as at Newmarket in third.

“She made it extremely easy,” Marquand said of the winner.

“She was fantastic. She jumped beautifully, we had the perfect target in Opera Singer to aim her at and she was electric.

“She is 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 (furlong pole).

“These rides are hard enough to come by, let alone to keep, and I’m very fortunate to be aboard her today.

“It’s so special (for the King to present him with his trophy), obviously I have great memories of Royal Ascot last year (winning on Desert Hero) and we all come to Royal Ascot primarily because of the royal family’s presence.

“It came up on my Facebook memories – Hollie (Doyle) and I were here 11 years ago before I’d even ridden in a race, with my family, and we both looked a bit fresher and baby-faced, but this was the dream. It doesn’t get much better.”

Porta Fortuna has not finished out of the first three in nine career starts, having struck Group One gold in last year’s Cheveley Park Stakes and placed on a further three occasions at the highest level as a juvenile.

O’Brien said: “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.

“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.

“We all know how tough it is, it’s a lot of pressure and we all put a lot of hard work in every day. When it pays off, no matter who it is, the whole family are happy for you.

“Obviously Fancy Blue was a very good filly as well but I’d say she’s the best I’ve had.”


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