Royal Ascot - At The Races

16:20 Ascot 20 Jun 2017

St James's Palace Stakes (Group 1) (British Champions Series & Global Sprint Challenge) (Rnd) (Class 1) (3YO only)

Winner £226,840 - 8 ran


7f 213y

Good to Firm

View Course Guide

Weighed In

Last year’s race

Galileo Gold
  • Winner: Galileo Gold
  • Jockey: L Dettori
  • Trainer: Hugo Palmer
  • Owner: Al Shaqab Racing
  • Age: 3 Weight: 9st 0lb
  • Starting Price: 6/1
  • Season Form Figures: 12
  • Previous Best: 1st - Qipco 2000 Guineas Stakes (Group 1), Newmarket (April 2016)

The fillies' equivalent of this race, the Coronation Stakes, may have thrown up a few shock results down the years but don't even think about looking at any horse at a double-figure price for win-only purposes for the St James’s Palace Stakes as we have to go back to 1992 when Brief Truce floored Arazi and Rodrigo De Triano (both unplaced) to score at anything above 9/1.

Aidan O’Brien has unquestionably been the trainer to follow winning seven of the last 17 renewals and six of his winners contested the Irish 2000 Guineas. In fact, all three of his dual Guineas winners, Rock Of Gibraltar, Henrythenavigator and Gleneagles, went on to complete the hat-trick by adding this prize which bodes well for Churchill. O’Brien’s finest hour in this race was when saddling the 1-2-3 in 2007 and he has had ten horses placed in addition to his winners going back to 2002.
Churchill had a dream run at Newmarket whereas the placed horses came from further back and wide of where the race was developing. The runner-up and second should only keep on improving being raw, inexperienced horses unlike the winner but Churchill was giving up race fitness and only does what he has to.

Godolphin will be represented by the Newmarket runner-up, Barney Roy, and they have won the St James’s Palace twice via Shamardal and Dawn Approach but they have had also been represented by five losing Classic winners. Al Wukair, who came from further back to finish third leaving Andre Fabre fuming, could also take his chance in what would be fascinating rematch as the way the 2000 Guineas panned out being a tactical affair posed more questions than answers.

An eye-catching 14 of the last 22 St James’s Palace Stakes winners contested both thye Newmarket and Curragh Guineas.

The Newmarket and Irish 2000 Guineas, however, hold a significant edge over the French equivalent with the Newmarket and Curragh Classics having highlighted 17 and 15 of the last 23 winners respectively. In fact, an eye-catching 14 of the last 22 St James’s Palace Stakes winners contested both Classics.

It doesn’t look like the French 2000 Guineas will be represented with anything of real note as Brametot won the French Derby and the narrow runner-up, Le Brivado, is on target for the Jersey Stakes.

Since Dr Fong won in 1998, only one St James’s Palace winner had failed to finish in the first four in any version of a European 2000 Guineas beforehand and 12 of the last 17 winners entered the race as a Classic winner. It is important to stress, however, what a poor running it was when Most Improved overcame that statistic which contributed to its largest field (16 runners) in over 60 years.

It has been 28 years since a horse having a dig at the highest level for the first time has won but winning form last time out is far from essential as nine of the last 22 winners were beaten on their most recent start, notably Dawn Approach after he blew his chance in the Derby by failing to settle. Marju also won here having contested the Derby where he finished second.

As for two-year-old form, Henrythenavigator, Canford Cliffs and Dawn Approach all won the Coventry Stakes on the same day 12 months earlier in the last nine years but Caravaggio heads for the Commonwealth Cup. Three of the last 15 winners won last season’s Dewhurst won by Churchill. 

At a glance summary

Ran in both the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket and the Irish 2000 Guineas
Group 1 winner (especially if won a European Guineas)
Start at single-figure odds
Trained by Aidan O’Brien (especially if contested the Irish 2000 Guineas)
Won last season’s Coventry Stakes and/or Dewhurst Stakes
Failed to finish in the first four in any form of 2000 Guineas
Yet to contest a Group 1 race

Previous Winners
Year Going Ran Winner Draw Age Weight OR Form Last run Trainer (Distance) Jockey SP Time
2016 Soft 7 Galileo Gold 7 3 9 0 - 1113-12 24 days H Palmer (88 miles) L Dettori 6/1 1:44.01
2015 Good to Firm 5 Gleneagles 5 3 9 0 - 111D-11 24 days A P O'Brien R L Moore 8/15 1:38.86
2014 Good 7 Kingman 7 3 9 0 - 11-121 24 days J Gosden (88 miles) James Doyle 8/11 1:39.06
2013 Good 9 Dawn Approach 5 3 9 0 - 1111-10 17 days J S Bolger (343 miles) K J Manning 5/4 1:39.23
2012 Good 16 Most Improved 15 3 9 0 - 213-0 16 days B Meehan (54 miles) K Fallon 9/1 1:40.14
2011 Good 9 Frankel 5 3 9 0 - 1111-11 45 days Sir H Cecil (88 miles) T Queally 3/10 1:39.24
2010 Good 9 Canford Cliffs 6 3 9 0 - 113-231 24 days R Hannon (52 miles) R Hughes 11/4 1:39.55
2009 Good to Firm 10 Mastercraftsman 8 3 9 0 - 1114-51 24 days A P O'Brien Johnny Murtagh 5/6 1:39.21
2008 Good to Firm 8 Henrythenavigator 6 3 9 0 - 1123-11 24 days A P O'Brien Johnny Murtagh 4/7 0:00.00
2007 Good to Firm 8 Excellent Art 1 3 9 0 - 11331-4 37 days A P O'Brien J P Spencer 8/1 1:39.33