The third and final Group 1 race on the first day at Royal Ascot on Tuesday is the St James’s Palace Stakes at 4.20.
Awtaad bids to confirm Irish Guineas form at Royal Ascot
The race usually attracts the best three-year-old colts over a mile in Europe. Past winners include Kris (1979), Grand Lodge (1994), Giant’s Causeway (2000), Shamardal (2005) and Frankel (2011). Aidan O’Brien is already the leading trainer in the history of the St James’s Palace Stakes with seven winners including Gleneagles a year ago.
This year’s race features the winners of the English, Irish and French 2000 Guineas. After Galileo Gold’s win at Newmarket, it seemed unlikely that he would start third-favourite at Royal Ascot but that is the situation. Connections decided not to risk him over the Derby trip due to stamina doubts and instead sought a Guineas double at the Curragh.
Frankie Dettori was hard at work some way out while Chris Hayes sat motionless on Awtaad, the latter going on to win by two and a half lengths. Kevin Prendergast’s colt looks to have conditions in his favour again on Tuesday and should confirm the form. The son of Cape Cross has improved with every race to date.
The Gurkha is our selection for the St James's Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot
The Gurkha expected to start favourite in St Jame’s Palace Stakes
Both Galileo Gold and Awtaad are preceded in the betting by French 2000 Guineas winner The Gurkha.
He is trained by Aidan O’Brien who bids for an eighth win in the race with the son of Galileo. He was his maiden at Navan in April by nine lengths and was pitched into Group 1 company at Deauville. He was always travelling comfortably for Ryan Moore before sprinting clear to beat First Selection by five and a half lengths.
He was briefly made favourite for the Derby but stays at a mile for the time-being. There is nothing between the three Guineas winners on official ratings but the style of the win of The Gurkha gives him the edge.
First Selection ran a great race for Simon Crisford in France but it is difficult to see him turning the tables on The Gurkha. Emotionless was regarded as Godolphin’s best hope of Classic success until a poor run in last season’s Dewhurst. He will be having his first run since trailing home in last place behind Air Force Blue.
Royal Ascot Betting Tip 14/06/2016
4.20 The St James's Palace Stakes
The Gurkha @6-4 Ladbrokes