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The St James’s Palace Stakes

4.00pm Ascot

  • Distance 1m
  • Class 1
  • Group 1
  • Prize money £400,000


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, 4 wins (1997, 2016, 2018, 2020)
Current leading trainer: Aidan O’Brien, 8 wins (2000-12, 2007-09, 2015, 2019)

Previous winners

Year Horse Jockey Trainer Owner Prize money




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


Palace Pier masters Pinatubo in thriller

The unbeaten Palace Pier finished with a flourish to land the 2020 St James’s Palace Stakes under Frankie Dettori.

Trained by John Gosden for owner Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum, the three-year-old Kingman colt was making it four wins from as many starts.

It looked a three-way battle between Palace Pier, Pinatubo and Wichita inside the final furlong and it was Palace Pier who found most, lengthening well to score by a length from Pinatubo, with Wichita another head away in third.


Dettori said: “We always thought a lot of Palace Pier, but he got a bit sleepy on us in the mornings and we were scratching our heads. John [Gosden] did a great job, and he thought, let’s start him off in a handicap at Newcastle to see whether he would wake up, and he did. We threw him in at the deep end today, but in the back of our minds we knew that there was a good horse in that big body, and we just were not sure how much of a good horse he was. Today was no fluke.

“I went wide, he went round the field, he galloped out good, and the Guineas form stood up. I am pleased he showed me today what I thought potentially he was going to be.”

Gosden said: “The race panned out well. Frankie said he wanted to ride Palace Pier a little cold. He settled him off the pace. He knew there would be a searching pace and I think Ryan Moore was happy with how the race turned out on Wichita. It got a little rough and Frankie avoided all of that. He swept round the outside and I think that he demonstrated superior stamina, which he also showed at Newcastle, when he was really strong in the last furlong.

“It is no fluke. He is a really talented horse and he will go for the Prix Jacques Le Marois at Deauville, which his father Kingman won.

“Pinatubo is a horse that is so fast that the quick mile in the Sussex will suit. I know Charlie has wanted to run him there and I’m sure that is where he is going and I hope he does it like we did with Too Darn Hot.”

Trainer Charlie Appleby said of runner-up Pinatubo: “I am disappointed to get beaten again, but we saw the Pinatubo we saw last year, for sure. From the three to the two there I thought, it’s just a matter of pressing the button again. Will [Buick] just said that on that ground, in the last 100 yards the tank was emptying out, but he is so courageous, he has held on for second still.

“He is still a class animal – we are not going to write him off just yet. When he walks in you can see that he has given it everything. When he turned into today, I thought we were back in the days of old. It is sticky and testing out there – it’s not bad ground, just a bit sticky.”



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.

  • Course plan Ascot Champions Day Course Plan#
  • Course Intro

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.

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