Eclipster: Royal Ascot Day 1 – Phoenix Of Spain deserves to be favourite in St James’s Palace Stakes

Tuesday 19th June – 4:20 – Royal Ascot – 1m (7f 213y) (Rnd) St James’s Palace Stakes (Group 1) (British Champions Series) (Colts) (Class 1) (3yo)

The St James’s Palace Stakes was established in 1834 and is named after St James’s Palace which was a Royal residence during the Tudor period. The race is open to three year old colts and generally attracts horses who have previously run in the 2,000 Guineas, the Irish 2,000 Guineas or the French equivalent, the Poule d’Essai des Poulains.

When the current grading system was introduced in 1971 the race had Group 2 status and was elevated to Group 1 level in 1988.

This is a good race for horses at the top of the betting as in 11 of the last 12 renewals a horse in the first three in the betting has won the race. In fact eight of the last 12 winners have been sent off as favourite or joint favourite.

Winning form over 1 mile is important with 11 of the last 12 winners having won at least once over the distance, while 11 of the last 12 winners had won at least twice and nine had won at least three times on the Flat although not necessarily over 1 mile. Recent winning form is also a good pointer with 10 of the last 12 winners having won previously earlier in the season.

Horses who ran in the 2,000 Guineas and Irish 2,000 Guineas have a good recent record in the race with 18 and 15 of the last 25 winners respectively. Horses who ran in both events have won 14 of the last 24 renewals of the St James’s Palace Stakes. Since 1998 only one horse who contested the British, Irish or French versions of the 2,000 Guineas and finished outside of the first four places has gone on to win here and 12 of the last 19 winners had won one of the European Classics.

An Official Rating of at least 109 has been required to win the race nine times in the last 12 renewals and horses with at least one previous win at Group 1 level have won eight of the last 12 renewals.

Phoenix Of Spain won the Irish 2,000 Guineas on his last start at the end of May, beating Too Darn Hot by 3 lengths, who re-opposes today. The three year old grey colt was sent off as a relatively unfancied 16/1 shot at The Curragh but showed his superiority in the race, as although he did enjoy the run of the race to some extent, he finished strongly and was well on top by the finish. He has any amount of potential and deserves to be favourite for today’s race.

Please note: tips are followed at your own risk. Please gamble responsibly.  

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