Timeform bring you their runner-by-runner guide to the St James's Palace Stakes on Day One of Royal Ascot.
St James's Palace Stakes
Tuesday 20th June, 16:20
Barney Roy (Richard Hannon)
Looked a colt right out of the top drawer when winning the Greenham (by two lengths from Dream Castle, Kings Gift fourth, Mr Scaramanga eighth) at Newbury in April on just his second start. Did extremely well to take second when beaten a length by the more experienced Churchill in the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket the following month, seemingly unsuited by the way the race developed and meeting trouble, perhaps also unsuited by the track. Remains a top-class prospect and every chance of reversing the form with the benefit of that experience under his belt.
Churchill (Aidan O'Brien)
Strong colt who already has eight runs under his belt (unbeaten since debut third), his last two wins as a two-year-old coming in the National Stakes at the Curragh and the Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket. More progress this year, proving himself to be a high-class performer when returning to HQ to win the 2000 Guineas (by a length from Barney Roy), before following up in the Irish 2000 Guineas at the Curragh (beat Thunder Snow decisively by two and a half lengths, Lancaster Bomber fifth) last month. Has more on his plate in what looks a better race, most notably taking on Barney Roy again, however he acts on any going, is a straightforward ride who finds plenty for pressure, and still has his best days ahead of him.
Forest Ranger (Richard Fahey)
Strong, rangy colt who won readily on debut at Redcar and built on improved effort in 1m listed race at Pontefract when impressively winning minor event over same trip at Newcastle in April. Failed to repeat that performance back on turf and up in trip when eight and a half lengths sixth to Permian in Dante Stakes at York last time and has plenty on his plate in this company on that evidence.
Lancaster Bomber (Aidan O'Brien)
Has performed pacemaking duties admirably of late, including when one and a quarter lengths fourth to Churchill in 2000 Guineas in May. Appeared to find ground too testing when beaten much further in Irish 2000 Guineas last time, headed over 1f out and folding into fifth, so whilst these conditions may suit better, it's hard to see him troubling the big two.
Mr Scaramanga (Simon Dow)
Sturdy colt who only won once (at Brighton) in eight starts for Richard Hannon, but has improved for new connections, winning Group 2 Al Biddah Mile at Doha in February and taking a further step forward when second in listed race at Lingfield (neck behind Law And Order) in April. Below form in two starts since, well-held eighth in Greenham won by Barney Roy and fourth to Solomon's Bay in listed race at Epsom last time, but even best form leaves him with a mountain to climb.
Peace Envoy (Aidan O'Brien)
Won three of his eight starts as a two-year-old, including listed race at Naas and Anglesey Stakes at the Curragh (by one and three quarter lengths from Psychedelic Funk), but produced best form when three quarters of a length third to Lady Aurelia in Prix Morny at Deauville in August. Excuses when well beaten in French 2000 Guineas (1m) at Deauville last time, enduring a troubled passage. Yet to prove his stamina for this trip but should stay (dam won over 1¼m).
Rivet (William Haggas)
Sturdy colt who won three times last term, including Champagne Stakes and Racing Post Trophy (both at Doncaster, latter by one and three quarter lengths from Yucatan). Placed first two starts this year, in Craven Stakes at Newmarket (one and three quarter lengths second to Eminent) and Poule d'Essai des Poulains at Deauville. Three lengths third to Brametot on latter occasion, doing best of those ridden close up, but didn't settle when only respectable four and a half lengths eighth to same rival in Prix du Jockey Club (10.5f) at Chantilly last time. Drop back in trip in his favour here, but needs to take form up another notch.
Thunder Snow (Saeed bin Suroor)
Well-made colt who was successful in Criterium International at Saint-Cloud last season, before making a quick return to action when winning UAE 2000 Guineas and UAE Derby at Meydan in February/March. Effectively took no part in Kentucky Derby (bucking and kicking upon leaving stalls and pulled up) at Churchill Downs in May, but soon back on track when two and a half lengths second to Churchill in Irish 2000 Guineas at the Curragh last time. Showed no sign of temperament there, travelling well and getting to front before the winner but just outclassed late on. Similar scenario likely here.
Timeform St James's Palace Stakes 1-2-3
1. Barney Roy
3. Thunder Snow
Timeform Analyst's Verdict
The Guineas 1-2 Churchill and BARNEY ROY are several pounds clear on Timeform ratings, and this could develop into a duel. From a value point of view, Barney Roy looks the better bet, given he has only a length to find on his rival and has been kept fresh since. He will also have learnt plenty from his Newmarket experience, only the third run of his career.
1. Barney Roy
3. Thunder Snow