Churchill Leads Assault on Royal Ascot in St. James’s Palace Stakes

Churchill (photo via Coolmore).

Churchill (photo via Coolmore).

Eight are expected for Tuesday’s feature, the St. James’s Palace Stakes (GI), an about one-mile turf dash for older runners.

Coolmore will send out the once-defeated classic winner Churchill and the Aiden O’Brien-trained son of Galileo will be looking for his eighth consecutive win and fifth in Grade 1 company after taking the Irish Two Thousand Guineas (GI), English Two Thousand Guineas (GI), Dubai Dewhurst (GI) and Irish National Stakes (GI). The colt, who broke his maiden at Royal Ascot a year ago, has done nothing wrong in the mornings or afternoon since and is a legitimate favorite here. Regular jockey Ryan Moore returns.

O’Brien began his assault on Royal Ascot 20 years ago and has won 55 Group 1s at the prestigious meet since and strengthens his hold on this event by sending out Group 2 winners Lancaster Bomber and Peace Envoy.

Trainer Richard Hannon sends out Godolphin’s lightly raced Barney Roy, who was second to Churchill last out after a very troubled break. The son of Excelebration is one stumble shy of being undefeated and while Churchill has proven to be a tough competitor Barney Roy has shown a tremendous amount of promise in his three-race career.

UAE Derby (GI) winner Thunder Snow was back in action late last month at The Curragh and was second in the Irish Two Thousand Guineas. Trainer Saeed bin Suroor expressed that he believes Thunder Snow to prefer the softer going, which makes sense considering he won the Criterium International at Saint-Cloud over soft going last year, but with his best will be a legit threat. American fans remember him best for his performance out of the starting gate in the Kentucky Derby (GI), where he broke poorly and was bumped hard, which seemed to have made him angry enough to launch a bucking tirade down the stretch before jockey Cristophe Soumillon got him pulled up safely.

The William Haggas-trained Rivet returns to action after a couple of decent runs in the French Guineas (GI) and French Derby (GI). He won the Racing Post Trophy (GI) as a 2-year-old.

Richard Fahey’s will saddle Forest Ranger and the Richard Dow-trained Mr Scaramanga complete the eight-runner field.

Post time for the St. James’s Palace Stakes has been set for 11:20 p.m. ET.

Margaret Ransom
California native and lifelong horsewoman Margaret Ransom is a graduate of the University of Arizona’s Race Track Industry Program. She got her start in racing working in the publicity departments at Calder Race Course and Hialeah Park, as well as in the racing office at Gulfstream Park in South Florida. She then spent six years in Lexington, KY, at where she helped create and develop the company’s popular newsletters, Handicapper’s Edge and Bloodstock Journal.

After returning to California, she served six years as the Southern California news correspondent for BloodHorse, assisted in the publicity department at Santa Anita Park and and was a contributor to many other racing publications, including HorsePlayer Magazine and Trainer Magazine. She then spent seven years at HRTV and in various roles as researcher, programming assistant, producer and social media and marketing manager. She has also walked hots and groomed runners, worked the elite sales in Kentucky for top-class consignors and volunteers for several race horse retirement organizations, including CARMA.

Margaret’s very first Breeders’ Cup was at Hollywood Park in 1984 and she has attended more than half of the Breeders’ Cups since. She counts Holy Bull as her favorite horse of all time. She lives in Pasadena with her longtime beau, Tony, three Australian Shepherds and one Golden Retriever.