The 1000 Guineas winner Kazzia may have been missing from the 2002 Coronation Stakes field, having stepped up in trip to land the Oaks two weeks previously instead, but it would have been stretching it to say that it was a weak renewal of the Group 1 fillies' race.
The French 1000 Guineas first and third, Zenda and Sophisticat, from the John Gosden and Aidan O’Brien yards respectively, were back for more, while the Newmarket race form was represented by fourth-placed Dolores, who had been impressive in landing a listed race at Goodwood in the interim. Also in the line-up was Gossamer, a full-sister to Barathea, winner of the Fillies’ Mile as a juvenile and of the Irish 1000 Guineas four weeks previously, and it was Gossamer that they put in as the 6-4 favourite.
On the face of it, it made sense. The form of the Irish Classic was solid given that the runner-up, four and a half lengths behind Gossamer, was the Ballydoyle filly Quarter Moon, who had followed up by finishing second to Kazzia in the Oaks, and who would also finish second in the Irish Oaks the following month. However, Gossamer’s odds did not fully take into account ground conditions at Ascot on the day, officially good to firm and the fastest that the filly had ever encountered.
Gossamer had run five times before Coronation Stakes day 2002. She had won four times and been beaten out of sight once. Her four wins had been recorded on ground that was, respectively, good, good to soft, soft, and soft to heavy, her latest win recorded in a Classic, the Irish 1000 Guineas. Her sole defeat was on the only occasion she encountered fast ground. That was also in a Classic, the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket, but her form beforehand was so strong that she was sent off the 11-8 favourite. She finished eighth.
As a daughter of Sadler’s Wells, it was understandable that Luca Cumani’s filly would have a distinct preference for an ease in the ground, and she betrayed that preference again at Ascot. She was settled out the back in the early stages by Jamie Spencer behind a strong pace set by Pat Eddery on Red Liason, but she never travelled with the ease with which she had travelled at The Curragh. Swinging wide around the home turn in order that she could mount her challenge, it was apparent as far out as the two-furlong pole that she was not going to be involved in the finish. Spencer eased her down once it was obvious that her chance of winning had gone as Sophisticat showed a fine turn of foot under Mick Kinane to beat Zenda by a neck, and turn the French Guineas form around. Gossamer trailed in last of the 11 fillies.
Gossamer raced just twice after that, going under by just two lengths to Rock Of Gibraltar in the Prix du Moulin at Longchamp on good ground and finishing fifth in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf at Arlington Park on her final run that October, in front of Kazzia and Zenda, and just two necks behind Islington, and she is now a hugely exciting broodmare, having already produced last year’s Racing Post Trophy winner Ibn Khaldun.