Everything you need to know about the St James’s Palace Stakes at Ascot Racecourse on June 19.
When and where?: 4.20 Ascot on June 19. Live in stunning HD on Racing UK, Sky Channel 426.
What Grade?: Group One.
What Course?: Round Course.
What Distance?: A mile
What Prize-money?: £500,000 (Winner: £283,550).
Ages: For 3yo colts.
Weights & Allowances: All runners carry 9st.
Key statistics and trends:
Aidan O’Brien is the leading trainer with seven wins in the race.Gleneagles is one of seven winners in the race for O'Brien (PA)
Nine of the last 12 winners had won at least one Group One.
Ten of the last 12 winners had at least two runs that season.
The last 13 winners returned shorter than 9-1 in the betting.
Eight of the last 12 winners were favourites/joint-favourites.
Nine of the last 12 winners were rated 115 or higher.
The St James’s Palace Stakes was originally a Group Two event, but was promoted to a Group One in 1988, and is contested on the opening day of the Royal Ascot meeting.
It regularly features horses who ran in the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket and has been won by some superstars in recent years including Frankel, Giant’s Causeway and Rock Of Gibraltar.Frankel won the race in 2011 (Racingfotos)
Aidan O’Brien has enjoyed great success in the 1m showpiece in recent years having won it 7 times – Giant’s Causeway (2000), Black Minnaloushe (2001), Rock of Gibraltar (2002), Excellent Art (2007), Henrythenavigator (2008), Mastercraftsman (2009) and Gleneagles in 2015.
The past 10 winners:
2017: Barney Roy
The Richard Hannon-trained Barney Roy continued a good day for Godolphin as they were successful with Ribchester in the Queen Anne Stakes, the opening race on day one of Royal Ascot.
Barney Roy managed to turn the tables on 2000 Guineas winner Churchill, who was sent off the odds-on favourite, and could only manage fourth.
Many had argued that Barney Roy was an unlucky loser in the 2000 Guineas where he became unbalanced at a crucial stage and Churchill gained first run on him.
Hannon reflected on his stable stars success after the race and said: “We felt he was unlucky in the Guineas (when stumbling in the dip), and if he was unlucky he would win today, and so it proved. We have massive respect for Churchill, and I don’t think he has run his true race today, but we were there to take advantage.
“I was frustrated after the Guineas because he was a little inexperienced – that was what beat him. He nodded going into the dip, lost his stride, and I thought he had broken down. To his credit he quickened up against horses that were already quickening, while Churchill got a lovely run, which was well executed by them.”
2016: Galileo Gold
Racegoers at Royal Ascot were treated to a flying dismount as Frankie Dettori guided the Hugo Palmer-trained Galileo Gold to success in 2016.
The 2,000 Guineas winner got the better of the French 2,000 Guineas winner The Gurkha who was sent off the odds-on favourite, with Awtaad, who defeated Galileo Gold in the Irish 2,000 Guineas, back in third.
It came as a slight shock to Palmer. He said: “I don’t know how we turned it around, and I’m not sure we did. He ran a huge race in Ireland, but he wasn’t able to use his stride there – he was out perfectly quick enough, but the best horse won on the day.
“It was hugely thrilling and a great race. It was the battle of three Guineas winners. It is funny because it is very soft ground today, but it seems that pretty well the best horse has won every race.”
English and Irish 2,000 Guineas winner Gleneagles bolted up under Ryan Moore and provided Aidan O’Brien with his seventh success in the Group One contest.
Sent off the well-backed 8-15 favourite, there was never a moment of doubt for punters as the son of Galileo travelled well before he effortlessly pulled clear of his four rivals.
French Guineas winner Make Believe made his first trip over to Britain, and was fancied by many to cause an upset, but eventually finished last having raced keenly throughout the race.
O’Brien played down his role in training his seventh St James’s Palace Stakes winner.
He said: “I’m just a small part of a very big team and privileged to be able to play a part. I’m getting older now and the younger lads are coming on.
“I’m watching more and going with the flow. I’m 45 now and it’s great to see younger people coming along and taking responsibility and the pressure. So many people make it happen.
“I only look on – I just stand at the top of the gallops and watch the work, which is good for me, and a lot less pressure.”
Kingman gained revenge on his Qipco 2,000 Guineas conqueror Night of Thunder with a sparkling turn of foot to win the St James’s Palace Stakes in 2014 under James Doyle.
John Gosden’s colt lost his unbeaten record when second to that rival in the Guineas the month before, but punters retained their faith and he returned the 8-11 favourite. Doyle praised Kingman and expressed his gratitude to owner Khalid Abdullah afterwards.
He said: “They can’t go quick enough for him. He has such a good cruising speed and wants to go quicker. The lads at home have done well with him and it is good to pay back the faith given to me by Khalid Abdullah, so I want to thank him.
“Despite losing in the Guineas I always took the opinion he was a better horse. He has a potent turn of foot and I enjoyed it so much. You push a button and he is away, it was just brilliant. I could afford to be patient with his turn of foot and today he showed what sort of horse he is.”
2013: Dawn Approach
The 2,000 Guineas winner Dawn Approach bounced back to form after he finished last in the Derby just 17 days before to defeat Toronado by a short-head under Kevin Manning.
The son of New Approach also provided Manning, and his trainer and breeder Jim Bolger, with their first success in the feature race on day one of Royal Ascot.
The drop back to a mile clearly helped as he gave Manning a horrible ride in the Derby where he pulled uncontrollably for most of the race.
Bolger said: “It’s the nature of the sport to take chances and sometimes they work and sometimes they don’t. Sheikh Mohammed was a very willing risk taker and I’m delighted he was.”
Sheikh Mohammed, part-owner of Dawn Approach, was equally as delighted and said: “Jim bred the horse and knows him very well, so when he said he wanted to run the owner was happy to support him. The biggest risk is not taking any risk. Today has proved to me that this horse is the best miler in the world.”
Connections were made to sweat afterwards, however, as a stewards’ enquiry was called after an incident between the two furlong and one-furlong marker where several horses were knocked sideways, including the first two, but the placings remained unaltered.
2012: Most Improved
Most improved fended off the late challenge of French-raider Hermival and provided Kieran Fallon with his first British Group One success since he guided Yeats to victory in the first of his four Ascot Gold Cups in 2006.
“I've liked this horse ever since I first sat on him. He's a lengthener, not a quickener, but he has a beautiful stride and he's a perfect mover," said the relieved winning rider.
It was a dramatic race, however, as The Nile sadly broke down entering the home straight and hampered a few of the runners, including the favourite Power.
The mighty Frankel justified favouritism in 2011 but had punters on the edge of their seats as he came back to the field quickly in the final 100 yards under Tom Queally.
It was Aidan O’Brien’s Zoffany who finished strongly out of the pack and came within three quarters of a length of breaking Frankel’s unbeaten record.
After the race, trainer Sir Henry Cecil admitted he would have used different tactics as the son of Galileo was sent on before the home turn to catch pacemaker Rerouted.
“That was a bit nerve-wracking and it didn’t go to plan. He is growing up, but it just went a little bit wrong today,” Cecil said.
“He was nice and relaxed in the race and I don’t think he needed the pacemaker. If I was to run that race again in half an hour, then it would be very different.
“He looked as if he was going to win a bit more easily and I think that he thought that he had just done enough. He settled really well today - very, very well. When he was in front at the furlong, he thought that he had done enough so he was really idling at the end.”
2010: Canford Cliffs
Canford Cliffs led home a tremendous one-two for Richard Hannon Snr under Richard Hughes.
It was a second success for Canford Cliffs at Royal Ascot, following his six-length victory in the 2009 Coventry Stakes.
Hannon’s colt was sent off joint-favourite with the unbeaten Makfi, but the French-raider failed to show his form and trailed in seventh.
After the race, a delighted Hannon said: “Canford Cliffs is a horse that just gets better and better and better. He is now settling better in his races.
“It is one thing to win the Coventry Stakes with him last year but to come on and win this year is something else.”
Irish 2,000 Guineas winner Mastercraftsman got the better of Delegator in a thrilling finish in 2009.
The odds-on favourite was headed inside the final furlong but showed his class to battle back in one of the finishes of the week at Royal Ascot.
Trainer Aidan O’Brien was quick to praise Mastercraftsman, but also rider Johnny Murtagh. O’Brien said: “It’s unbelievable – a great performance from both jockey and horse. He’s an amazing horse – speed, stamina, soft ground, fast ground – they all come alike to him. It was a great performance by the horse and a marvellous performance by the jockey.”
Aidan O’Brien’s colt became the first horse since the same trainer’s record-breaking Rock Of Gibraltar in 2002 to add the mile contest to victories in both the English and Irish 2,000 Guineas.
Sent off the 4-7 favourite, the son of Kingmambo had punters sweating as he was made to pull out all the stops to beat the John Gosden-trained Raven’s Pass. O’Brien certainly had high praise for Henrythenavigator after the race.
He said: “I find it hard to think that I’ve had a better miler than him. He’s a great horse - exceptional.”
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