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Coltrane hits the right notes for Andrew Balding



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Andrew Balding said he was "thrilled" to see Coltrane win the Ascot Stakes on Tuesday, June 14.

It was Coltrane's first win since 2020 – he's been on the comeback trail after suffering a serious injury at the end of his three-year-old career.

Coltrane, who is named after legendary jazz musician John Coltrane, finished ahead of the pre-race favourite, the Willie Mullins-trained Bring on the Night, to scoop prize money to the tune of £51,000.

Andrew Balding
Andrew Balding

Balding said: "He's been a good horse for us. He's found his confidence and we're so pleased with his progression.

"After his first year, we almost told the owners he wasn't worth carrying on with.

"As soon as he got racing, the adrenaline got going and he became a totally different horse."

It was a memorable ride for jockey Callum Hutchinson, who secured his first Royal Ascot win aboard the five-year-old.

"It's been really rewarding to see Callum develop with us, particularly over the last 18 months," said Balding.

"He gave it an outstanding ride, it's been nominated as one of the rides of the meeting.

"It was a race winning ride, the manoeuvres he made in the race were the difference between winning and losing."

Coltrane, who was runner-up in last month's Chester Cup, lost the least weight of all Balding's six runners on Tuesday, despite racing the furthest distance.

Balding said: "I think he was able to run within himself, he found it quite easy and that's quite exciting."

That bodes well for Coltrane's future – Balding says the Ebor Handicap at York in August is a "real possibility" while he's also set to race in Saudi Arabia this winter.

Lambourn based Charlie Hills also tasted Royal Ascot success as Dark Shift won the Royal Hunt Cup on Wednesday.

It was an emotional win – stable hand Reg Todd has worked at the Hills' yard for 30 years while winning jockey James McDonald lived with Hills and his wife when he first came to the UK at 18.

Elsewhere, Hungerford's Hollie Doyle became the first woman to win a Group 1 European Classic aboard Nashwa in the Prix de Diane at Chantilly.

That capped a successful week for Berkshire's local trainers and riders – for Balding and Coltrane, it really was a case of A Love Supreme.



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