Irish 2000 Guineas Star Wins Royal Ascot Day 1 Highlight

An absolute humdinger!

In the battle of the 2000 Guineas winners at Royal Ascot on Tuesday, it was the Richard Hannon-trained Rosallion who came out on top in the Gr1 St James’s Palace Stakes.

The Sean Levey-ridden winner (5/2), who landed the Irish 2,000 Guineas on his previous start, showed real class to get out of a pocket and grab Aidan O’Brien’s Henry Longfellow inside the final furlong to win by a neck.

The French 2,000 Guineas winner Metropolitan finished third for Mario Baratti, a further three lengths behind.

Godolphin’s English 2,000 Guineas winner Notable Speech, who was sent off the 6/4 favourite, failed to quicken when produced on the outside and beat just one rival home.

Rosallion (Sean Levey) wins the St James’s Palace Stakes on Tuesday (Pic – Megan Coggin)

Rosallion, a second winner of the St James’s Palace Stakes for Hannon after Barney Roy in 2017, had finished second to Notable Speech at Newmarket before scoring at the Curragh. He carries the colours of his owner/breeder Sheikh Mohammed Obaid Al Maktoum.

Hannon said: “Rosallion was special before today. Unfortunately, we lost in the Guineas, but he has always been brilliant – physically, mentally. I couldn’t believe he got beaten in the Guineas the way he was travelling. He won the Irish Guineas very well. He is a complete package. He’s as good as I’ve ever seen in our place.

“He was bred by Sheikh Mohammed Obaid and is a great advert for a new stallion [Blue Point]. Quite often you call these horses something that they’re not, because you want them to be the best horse you’ve trained – and quite often you are disappointed. That’s an occupational hazard. But this lad has never let me down. That one day at Doncaster… I still can’t explain it. I don’t know how we messed it up, but that’s behind us now.

“Rosallion is in the Sussex, he’s in all those big races, and I can’t wait. He has already done enough for me if he never does another… It is not about being proven right either, it’s about the work that goes into these horses from everybody at home. We’ve been watching him all winter, and this kind of horse makes it a shorter winter.

“This is about the only race I’ve won more often than my dad!”

On Sean Levey, Hannon added: “He is a brilliant jockey, always has been, and very loyal. Sheikh Obaid has let him ride the horse, he’s our man, and we are delighted to have him.”

Levey said: “I would have loved to go a bit further forward early, but I couldn’t risk him being a bit too competitive. Look, he had to be good today. He travelled so well, he picked up strong and was very tenacious to the line.

“I think once I had him out in the open, I always thought I would pick the leader up. This horse really has to have something to aim at, I think he showed that at the Curragh. As soon as I got him out, there was always going to be plenty in the tank.

“I just really hope the that one day they go a really good gallop so that we get to see him really show his true potential. At the moment he’s just showing how versatile he really is.

“I always said I always had great belief in the horse. I always hoped he would be that horse I’ve been waiting for all my career. People say to me, you remember the horse along with who rode it. It means the world to me, and everyone at home.”

Aidan O’Brien, trainer of Henry Longfellow, said: “We are delighted with him. He ran a great race, so what can you say? We think there’s more to come. He didn’t have much of a run in France, so that was his first real race this year. It is really like a first time out for him, because France was a non-event. He is happy at a mile but he could step up further, yes. Ryan was surprised, he said, that the winner came and got him, because he was running to the line.”

Metropolitan’s trainer Mario Baratti said: “That’s racing. I find him quite unlucky; he’s a horse who is never travelling very strongly. I wouldn’t complain at Alexis; I’m happy with the ride, but he started galloping the last 200 metres when he had the gap. When he saw the horse coming along it was too late, the other two went already. But it was good to see that he is of the level to run with the best. I think we will stay at a mile again. With more pace early in the race, you never know, he might have got it. It wasn’t an easy race, but I’m very happy with the horse.”

Charlie Appleby said of Notable Speech: “Will [Buick] said he was happy where he was, wheeled him out like he normally would and expected him to pick up through the gears. He said he just didn’t pick up and we weren’t strong going through the line – he lost a place or two just at the finish. He seems fine afterwards with no abnormalities at all. We will just see if anything comes out of it. It is disappointing, obviously, but full credit to the winner. He’s a Blue Point and you always know that they are going to bring their A game to Ascot. Full credit to Richard [Hannon], Sheikh Mohammed Obaid and all the team.”

  • St James’s Palace Stakes (Group 1) (British Champions Series)

1 Rosallion (Sheikh Mohammed Obaid Al Maktoum) Richard Hannon 3-9-02 Sean Levey 5/2

2 Henry Longfellow (Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith & Sue Magnier) Aidan O’Brien IRE 3-9-02 Ryan Moore 5/2

3 Metropolitan (Peter R Bradley III & Scuderia Scolari) Mario Baratti FR 3-9-02 Alexis Pouchin 20/1

8 ran                   6/4F Notable Speech (7th)

 Richard Hannon – 9th Royal Ascot winner

Sean Levey – 2nd Royal Ascot winner

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