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The St James’s Palace Stakes

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History

Look down the list of recent winning trainers of the one mile St James’s Palace Stakes on the first day of Royal Ascot and one name stands out – apart from Aidan O’Brien, of course, who has hogged the headlines with seven triumphs since 2000. That name? Mick Channon, the former England international footballer. Now a highly respected trainer, he won this Group 1 race for three-year-old colts with Zafeen in 2003.

Go back another year and you find another football connection, when the O’Brien-trained Rock Of Gibraltar won – wearing Manchester United colours. Rock of Gibraltar was co-owned by United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, although the exact nature of that ownership ended in a bitter dispute with John Magnier that threatened to end up in the courts.

Restricted to three-year-old colts, the race is a natural follow-up race for the winners of the English, Irish and French 2000 Guineas.

Named after St James’s Palace, a royal residence during Tudor times, the race was first run in 1834 – to general apathy. Only one horse entered.

Current leading jockey: Frankie Dettori, 3 wins (1997, 2016, 2018)
Current leading trainer: Aidan O’Brien, 7 wins (2000-12, 2007-09, 2015)

Previous winners

Year Horse Jockey Trainer Owner Prize money

Entries

Going/Track

Weather

No/Draw Horse/Jockey Age Form/Type BHA Rating Weight Trainer Odds

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Without Parole powers home to win St James's Palace

John Gosden and Frankie Dettori combine again with unbeaten son of Frankel in mile feature.

The unbeaten Without Parole confirmed he will be a match for all the milers this summer with victory in the  St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot.

The son of Frankel, trained by John Gosden and ridden by Frankie Dettori, was the 9/4 favourite and is owned and bred by John and Tanya Gunther, who bred American Triple Crown winner Justify.

Ryan Moore most of the running at a strong pace on the Aidan O’Brien-trained U S Navy Flag but Without Parole overhauled him a furlong out. He then responded well to Dettori’s urgings to fend off the late challenge of Gustav Klimt, also trained by O’Brien, to score by a half-length.

Gosden said: “US Navy Flag had gone, and Frankie said, ‘I had to go after him – I was frightened he had got three lengths, and in the end I went a bit soon’. Then of course with Aidan [trainer of both US Navy Flag and Gustav Klimt] there is another arrow at your back – there always is another arrow.

“But look, Without Parole is a grand horse. There were no hiding places in that race. It was proper, proper Group One pace. I think he is still on the up and still learning.

“He could stay at a mile or go up. He was green on the bend and Frankie was having to say, ‘come on old boy, come on old boy’. He’s so lazy at home. I’ve never seen a horse eat and sleep like it, which is a great, great thing in a racehorse. I think he will improve, he’ll get sharper and I think he will get a little further too.”

Gunther said: “It is a dream come true. In all the 20 years I have been coming to Royal Ascot, my dream was just to have a horse run at Royal Ascot. Then we start in a Group One and do it; I don’t know what to say.

“This does mean more [than breeding Triple Crown winner Justify] and always will. This was the most important and means everything to me.”

Wootton came from well off the pace to claim third, with Tip Two Win fourth. Roger Teal, trainer of the latter, said: “The race didn’t quite go to plan and we were further back than we wanted to be, and he had a lot of ground to make up. We were mindful of the stiffer mile here at Ascot and David [Probert] gave him a bit of cover to help him to settle, but they went a crazy early pace which did not help.”

Results

Position Horse Jockey Trainer Owner
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The Course

British horseracing can lay claim to plenty of blue-blooded connections, but none rival those of Ascot. The Berkshire racecourse’s roots go back 300 years to Queen Anne, who recognised the potential of a stretch of heath land while out riding just a few miles from Windsor Castle.

The royal link has endured ever since. Today, Queen Elizabeth II and members of the Royal Family attend the world-famous ‘Royal Ascot’ meeting each year, arriving in a horse drawn carriage. Royal Ascot, meanwhile, has earned iconic status as a centrepiece of the social calendar, when the world’s best thoroughbreds face fierce competition from the world’s most extravagant fashion designs.

Ascot, which underwent a £200 million redevelopment between 2004-6, also hosts the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes sponsored by QIPCO in July, the most prestigious open-age Flat race staged in Britain.

It will also host the inaugural QIPCO British Champions Day in October which will be the richest raceday ever staged in Britain with over £4.2m in prize money and the climax to the QIPCO British Champions Series.  Including the five category finales on QIPCO British Champions Day, Ascot stages no less than 13 of the 35 QIPCO British Champions Series races.

What sort of horses like Ascot? Horses that like right-handed courses. And what sort of people? People who like champagne and scones, apparently. During the five-day Royal Ascot meeting in 2010, 60,000 bottles of champagne and 40,000 scones were consumed. Lobsters, meanwhile, don’t like Royal Ascot – 1,500 of them were eaten over that same period.

Getting there

Ascot
Berkshire
SL5 7JX

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