St James’ Palace Stakes The Royal Ascot Thriller Of The Week?

Catch it live on Gallop TV

Day one of Royal Ascot 2024 kicks off at 15h30 on Tuesday and the card features 7 hot races, with the featured St James’ Palace Stakes looking like the potential race of the week!

The Gr1 St James’ Palace Stakes, for the first time since 2016, sees the winners of all three 2000 Guineas from England, France and Ireland clash in one sumptuous cocktail of miling brilliance!

Sky Sport Racing Pundit John Hunt looks at the top four:

Notable Speech is the highest profile runner in the race after his devastating win in the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket where he beat reopposing Rosallion by a length and half and Alyaanabi nearly five lengths back.

Notable Speech – can do the talking! (Pic – Ascot Racecourse)

He is unbeaten after rattling off three winter Kempton victories but on the book, there wasn’t much that signalled him as a Guineas winner, hence his 16/1 SP at Newmarket. William Buick came out with some amazingly complementary quote following the Guineas, mostly in relation to the manner of the movement past City of Troy around the three-furlong marker.

He was very impressive and bearing in mind that was his first run on turf, it was impossible to crab him. Charlie Appleby won the Guineas three years ago with Coroebus who scraped in subsequently at Royal Ascot, winning the St James’ Palace Stakes with a much lower rating than he achieved at Newmarket.

That suggests to me that Notable Speech only needs to replicate his effort at HQ to win again. Its seldom that straightforward but it may well prove to be the case in this instance.

 

Darlinghurst is one of two raiders coming over from France and he could  prove more of a threat than Metropolitan.

He is by Dark Angel (sire of Battaash, Royal Ascot winner in 2020) but with a very uninspiring dam side of his pedigree. However, his form is really eye catching. His best performance in a four race unbeaten year to date, came when landing the Prix Du Guiche at Chantilly over nine furlongs when easily accounting for First Look.

The runner up then returned to Chantilly for the Prix Du Jockey and ran a brilliant race when runner up to the Arc de Triomphe bound, Look De Vega.

That gives Darlinghurst an interesting profile and its fascinating that Jerome Reynier embraces this tough assignment. Reynier is the emerging talent at French racings top table and his rare forays to England are always worth noting. The one concern for Darlinghurst is that this will, in all probability be the quickest ground he has encountered to date; all his progressive form has been produced on synthetic tracks or on soft ground.

Rosallion finished second to Notable Speech at Newmarket, a brilliant run and he backed that up with a much deserved victory in the Irish 2000 Guineas, where he was set a completely different test.

Always quite prominent at Newmarket, he was set a fair task from off the pace at The Curragh and it took him quite some time to reel in stablemate Haatem but he got there to give Richard Hannon a richly deserved second classic.

Hannon has always talked about Rosallion’s speed and quality, but I felt we saw something a little different from him as he really had to battle hard. And there’s the rub – was it too hard a race so close to this assignment?

It appears as though he would struggle to beat Notable Speech if he had come fresh from Newmarket.

But to throw in such a gallant, all-out effort at the Curragh means he will have to demonstrate plenty of durability to go alongside his undoubted brilliance. I’ll be delighted if I’m wide of the mark with that opinion but, nevertheless, his presence here greatly enhances the race as a spectacle.

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