Illuminate preserved her unbeaten status to uphold trainer Richard Hannon’s high opinion of her when hanging to victory by the narrowest of margins in the Duchess of Cambridge Stakes at Newmarket.
Although running out an impressive winner of the Albany Stakes, the daughter of Zoffany was forced to pull out all the stops on this occasion in order to add the six-furlong Group Two prize to her name.
Sitting much closer to the pace than when sweeping through with a late run at Royal Ascot, the smooth-travelling 7-4 joint-favourite hit the front in the hands of Richard Hughes approaching the final furlong with it simply looking to be a question of how far.
Hitting the rising ground, both Besharah and Blue Bayou came with well-timed late runs, but the winning line came in time for Illuminate, as she clung on to victory by a nose from Queen Mary third Besharah. Most bookmakers left her at 16-1 for next year’s Qipco 1000 Guineas.
Hannon said: “I thought he gave her the perfect ride. She travelled very well and I thought she was going to win a length and then the other filly (Besharah) stayed on.
“She’s always been a very good filly, really sweet to look at and a pleasure to deal with.
“I think she’s as good as we’ve ever had – a very good filly. She’s got a bit of scope about her and she’s up with the likes of TIggy Wiggy.”
Hannon completed his double when newcomer Manaafidh came with a late rattle to open his account at the first time of asking in the Weatherbys EBF Stallions Maiden Stakes.
Spangled enjoyed a stylish victory in the Price Bailey EBF Stallions Fillies’ Handicap Stakes.
Magical Memory won the Betfred Mobile Handicap for Charlie Hills and Frankie Dettori.