St James’s Palace Stakes Betting Tips & Predictions – Ascot, Tuesday 18th June 2019

The third and final of the Group 1’s on the opening day at Royal Ascot is one of the most famous races of the whole meeting, as the classic generation of colts lock horns over the Guineas distance of one mile. One of the races picked up by Frankel during his illustrious career, the roll of honour here reads like a who’s who of the greatest milers in the history of the sport.

This has largely been the preserve of the big British and Irish yards over the years, but we will be backing one of the smaller, French operations to come out this time around with a horse who narrowly missed out on Poule d'Essai des Poulains glory.

Top Tips

Shaman to win @ 10/1

Odds correct at time of writing but may have changed since. Check site for latest prices.

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Race Info

£500,000 in total prize money is on offer for this Group 1 contest held over a trip of 1m and set to be run on soft going this year.

GoingDistanceGradePrize MoneyRunnersEW Terms
Soft 1m Group 1 £500,000 16 1/5 1-3

Recent Winners

Another Group 1 in which it is Aidan O’Brien who leads the way amongst the trainers. His seven total wins – including four since 2007 – puts the Ballydoyle maestro atop the all-time list.

The 2000 Guineas at Newmarket has been the key race to look at here in recent years. Five of the last six winners of this either won or finished second in the colt’s Classic. The trend will not strengthen this year though as O’Brien’s Magna Grecia has been ruled out by a hamstring strain and there’s no appearance from King Of Change.

2018 Without Parole 9/4 John Gosden Frankie Dettori
2017 Barney Roy 5/2 Richard Hannon James Doyle
2016 Galileo Gold 6/1 Hugo Palmer Frankie Dettori
2015 Gleneagles 8/15 Aidan O’Brien Ryan Moore
2014 Kingman 8/11 John Gosden James Doyle

Analysis: Grecia withdrawal big boost for Spain

Some bookies were offering around 3/1 on Magna Grecia being this year’s St James’s Palace champion but he’s since had to pull out of the contest. While the news may disappoint some racing fans a little, it’s helped strengthen Phoenix Of Spain’s spot at the top of the betting. He’s not without challengers but having one main rival out of the way is no doubt something that will please trainer Charlie Hills.

Rainfall comes to Shaman’s aide

Torrential rainfall across the country has had a major impact on conditions underfoot at Ascot. Things are now unseasonably muddy and this is something Shaman (10/1) looks set to capitalise on. He’s twice shown how he loves to run when there’s some give in the ground, first when winning a Listed contest at Saint Cloud and then with his superb second in the Poule d’Essai des Poulains. Having performed so well in the French equivalent of the 2000 Guineas last month, the rapidly progressing colt will be a massive danger on his British debut.

Not Darn Hot enough

Coming off the back of a superb two-year-old season, Too Darn Hot (11/4) is a horse many racing fans have kept a keen eye on following his return. He’s failed to fully deliver on two occasions though, first beaten by Telecaster in the Dante Stakes before a three length defeat to Phoenix Of Spain in the Irish 2000 Guineas. When considering John Gosden’s colt was the favourite for both, it’s been a somewhat disappointing, albeit far from disastrous start to the campaign. Softer turf may possibly aid his cause this time around but it’s rather hard to say if it will work in his favour or not.

Phoenix Of Spain well prepared

Something worth knowing ahead of this St James’s Palace Stakes renewal is that nine of the last 17 winners ran previously in the Irish 2000 Guineas (seven won). It’s therefore hard to say that Phoenix Of Spain (11/8) could’ve taken a better route here especially as he won at the Curragh so impressively. After ending last season with a head’s length defeat to Magna Grecia in the Vertem Futurity Trophy, his strong showing in Ireland should have come as little surprise. He’s a horse clearly built for a mile test and you should fully expect him to at least make the places this Tuesday.

Final Verdict: Shaman to win

Without the recent deluge of rainfall, we’d be tipping Phoenix Of Spain to reign supreme in this Group 1 affair but as it is, a punt on Shaman is far too tempting. He’s a proven performer in tougher going as well as a colt that’s shown superb progression this season. Win or each way, he offers exceptional value for money so don’t be surprised if his price drops closer to the off.


St James's Palace
Leonard Bentley, flickr

Colts have no shortage of top class races to choose from when they turn three years old. Not only can they compete in races such as the 2,000 Guineas and Poule d'Essai des Poulains but they enjoy exclusive access to the St James’s Palace Stakes, run during the opening day of Royal Ascot. For the horse first over the line during this prestigious Group 1 contest, they will bag their connections over £300k in prize money.

It won’t be too long before the one mile race celebrates its 200th birthday. Introduced in 1834, the St James’s Palace Stakes, named after a royal residence during the Tudor period, is an event with a deeply rich history. It began on a less than impressive footing however with the first ever edition of the race a walkover, won by Plenipotentiary. He certainly wasn’t an unworthy champion however as the Derby winner was one of the best British horses of his era.

A 2,000 Guineas re-match

Both the 2,000 Guineas and the Irish equivalent take place earlier on in the flat season and many leading horses from them go on to featuring in the St James’s Palace Stakes. It’s really worth keeping your eye on the results of these two Classic events as several winners have often secured glory in this race too.

Chart Showing 2000 Guineas Record of St James's Palace Stakes Winners Between 1999 and 2018

Sometimes strong performers in the Poule d'Essai des Poulains also make their way into the St James’s Palace although at the time of writing 2005 was the last time we had a double winner in the form of Shamardal when the race took place at York.

Don’t look far down the betting

The bookies have done a pretty decent job of calling the winner of this race, certainly in more recent races. The favourite (or joint favourite) has won eight of the last 11 renewals so it’s not been the most profitable of races for the bookmakers.

Chart Showing the Start Prices of St James's Palace Stakes Winners Between 2007 and 2018

The only long-priced winner of the last decade came in 2012 when Most Improved (slightly unexpectedly) bounced back from a poor display at Chantilly. He did so during a particularly well-attended St James’s Palace renewal, one that saw 16 horses competing for glory over one mile.

O’Brien hits two hat-tricks

It’s hard enough for any trainer to win this race let alone with it on three consecutive occasions yet Aidan O’Brien has twice secured a hat-trick of victories. The County Wexford-born trainer saddled Giant’s Causeway, Black Minnaloushe and Rock Of Gibraltar to victory between 2000 and 2002 before doing the same again with Canford Cliffs, Henrythenavigator and Mastercraftsman between 2008 and 2010.

Aidan O'Brien's St James's Palace Stakes Hat-Tricks

Year Horse Jockey Owners
2009 Mastercraftsman Johnny Murtagh Smith, Magnier & Tabor
2008 Henrythenavigator Johnny Murtagh S. Magnier
2007 Excellent Art Jamie Spencer Magnier, Tabor, Smith & Green
2002 Rock Of Gibraltar Michael Kinane A. Ferguson & S. Magnier
2001 Black Minnaloushe Johnny Murtagh S. Magnier & M. Tabor
2000 Giant's Causeway Michael Kinane S. Magnier & M. Tabor

On all occasions the horses were at least part owned by Sue Magnier and husband John Magnier. It’s an especially impressive achievement knowing that no other trainer since the start of the 20th century has managed three consecutive wins in this race.

Frankel’s rare moment of vulnerability

The only time Frankel experienced a real scare in a Class 1 race was during the 2011 edition of the St James’s Palace Stakes. The once highest rated racehorse in the world approached his first Royal Ascot unbeaten in six starts was trading at a short 1/3 price to secure St James’s Palace success. Having been ridden hard by Tom Queally mid-race, the then three-year-old began to tire, allowing the chasing pack to close in. Aidan O’Brien’s Zoffany in particular was closing the gap at a rapid rate but the finish line came just in time to save the odds-on favourite, and spare the blushes of his jockey.

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