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St Jamess Palace Stakes set to steal the show at Royal Ascot

by Racing News (writer), , June 08, 2016

Royal Ascot

Race fans can look forward to a fascinating renewal of the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot on Tuesday 14th June.

The Group One highlight has been won by some formidable horses in recent years and the likes of Frankel, Gleneagles and Canford Cliffs have all powered to victory in the opening day showpiece.

This year punters can look forward to a showdown between English and Irish 2000 Guineas winners Galileo Gold and Awtaad as the duo look to settle their rivalry once and for all.

Hugo Palmer’s Galileo Gold was a sensational winner of the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket in May and many believed he was banker material to make it back-to-back Guineas victories when he lined up at the Curragh three weeks later. Unfortunately for connections they were not expecting a huge performance from Awtaad who relished the conditions in Ireland.

Palmer now has his eyes on Royal Ascot and he believes that his horse has what it takes to score in the Group One.

Palmer explained: “Whenever you have a Guineas winner who starts at 5/4 for a Classic, and gets beaten, then of course you are going to be disappointed. But we genuinely lost little in defeat with Galileo Gold's second at the Curragh on Saturday, and I was very proud of the horse.

“What it underlined to me is what a fantastic attitude the horse has. I feared the worst when I spoke to Jessica Harrington at lunch. She had a runner in one of the earlier races and she said to me that "I hope your horse handles heavy ground." I was sick with nerves anyway so that is the last thing I wanted to hear!

“They called it yielding to soft, but it was probably more like soft to heavy as we would know it over here, and the winner, Awtaad, had already proven himself on that ground.

“To be perfectly honest, I would prefer it if they weren't going and we were a 1/5 chance to win the race. As they say in racing, keep yourself in the best company and your horses in the worst!

“But, to be serious, I relish the opportunity and the challenge to take on Awtaad and the impressive French Guineas winner The Gurkha - though we beat First Selection further at Newmarket than he did at Deauville - on what will hopefully be decent ground next month.

“For the racing fan, it is going to be the race of the meeting.” editor, Nick Wilby lists Palmer as one of his top Royal Ascot tips and believes that it could end up being the clash of the entire week.

He added: “We often see a clash between the English and Irish Guineas winners in the St James’s Palace Stakes and this one looks to be a real classic. Both Galileo Gold and Awtaad looked special on their way to victory, but French Guineas winner The Gurkha looks to be the joker in the pack. He could take some stopping!”

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1 comments on St Jamess Palace Stakes set to steal the show at Royal Ascot

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