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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, 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

Entries

Going/Track

Weather

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

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Poetic Flare lights up in St James’s Palace

Recent history suggests that lightly-raced three year olds fare well in the St James’s Palace stakes. Enter Poetic Flare.

The Jim Bolger-trained colt was having his fifth race of the season when heading to the biggest stage of them all and he did not disappoint.

The QIPCO 2000 Guineas winner was again accompanied by regular partner, Kevin Manning and jumped from the stalls with plenty of enthusiasm. The early pace was taken up by Ontario, who stretched five lengths clear approaching the home turn – Poetic Flare happy to sit prominent in the chasing pack.

The rest of the field closed very quickly on the keen leader when rounding the final bend, but all were being asked questions by their respective jockeys, but it was clear to see Kevin Manning was very happy with his mount.

Gathering his ride, the button was pushed two-and-a-half furlongs out and the response was instant, and continued to be all the way to the line. The victory in the end was comfortable, with a winning margin of four-and-a-quarter lengths from Lucky Vega and Battleground.

Poetic Flare was emmulating his sire, Dawn Approach in winning the St James’s Palace, having also achieved the exact same feat in the QIPCO 2000 Guineas.

Jim Bolger at the age of 79 certainly has a serious horse on his hands for the remainder on the season.

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.

  • 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 £4m 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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