Alpha Centauri gives Harrington crowning moment at Royal Ascot

Pirate IRWIN
AFP
Record-breaking Alpha Centauri gives Jessica Harrington her first ever Royal Ascot winner in style in the Coronation Stakes (AFP Photo/Glyn KIRK )

Record-breaking Alpha Centauri gives Jessica Harrington her first ever Royal Ascot winner in style in the Coronation Stakes

Record-breaking Alpha Centauri gives Jessica Harrington her first ever Royal Ascot winner in style in the Coronation Stakes (AFP Photo/Glyn KIRK )

London (AFP) - Alpha Centauri emerged as the season's best three-year-old mile filly when setting a new track record in the Coronation Stakes to give Irish trainer Jessica Harrington her first Royal Ascot winner.

Alpha Centauri -- giving Greek owners The Niarchos Family their third win in the race -- had come in to Friday's Group One showpiece on the back of winning the Irish 1000 Guineas.

And she proceeded to destroy a field that consisted of Billesdon Brook and Teppal, the English and French 1000 Guineas winners, as well as the hotly-fancied Aidan O'Brien runner Clemmie.

However, once she hit the front under Colm O'Donoghue halfway down the straight there was only one outcome.

She lengthened her stride to ease home six lengths clear of Threading and setting a new track record of 1minute 35.89seconds, smashing the previous one by over a second.

For 71-year-old Harrington it was another great chapter in her training career that has seen her largely known for her national hunt feats including capturing the blue riband event of the jumps the Cheltenham Gold Cup last year with Sizing John.

"I thought will it ever happen to win a Group One here and today was now or never," said Harrington, beautifully decked out in all white.

"She is absolutely amazing, got a great temperament.

"I thought jeepers when Colm went clear in the straight he has gone too soon but in fact she just went further and further away.

"She floats on this ground."

For O'Donoghue it was just his second win at the great racing carnival -- his previous one coming 12 years ago -- and vindicated his decision to leave recordbreaking trainer Aidan O'Brien after years of loyal service but crucially for a first choice jockey's role with Harrington.

"She was awesome," said 37-year-old O'Donoghue.

"We came in with a load of confidence and she reciprocated in style.

"It was a privilege to ride for Aidan for so long but it was time to move one.

"She's my girl now!" added O'Donoghue, alluding to how one week he would ride one of O'Brien's horses and then be replaced the next time they ran because the first choice jockey got the call.

For Harrington's daughter Kate, who along with her sister works at her mother's stables, the winning trainer was just that bit special.

"She's amazing," she said.

"They broke the mould when they made her!"

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