Guineas Hero Gleneagles Ready For Ascot Glory
St James's Palace Stakes
The third Group 1 on the opening day comes by virtue of the St James’s Palace Stakes over 1m (4.20), in which both the respective Irish and French 2,000 Guineas winners, Gleneagles (4/7) and Make Believe (3/1) are set to battle it out.
Guineas Winners Do Battle!
Having won comfortably by over 2l at Newmarket, Gleneagles then took the Irish equivalent at the Curragh by almost 1l, where once again his electric turn of foot settled matters. The speed Aidan O’Brien’s colt possesses will again be an asset at a track where the short straight lends itself to those who can quicken.
As for the record of Irish Guineas winners in the St James, then the overall view is positive; of the last 12 to try, seven triumphed.
There is also a positive for Gleneagles in that he won last time, as not many of Tuesday’s line-up can boast of such criteria, yet it remains a big trend in recent times…
Of the last 10 St James’s winners…
10 were officially rated 115+ or 0 (Irish)
10 won 31% or more of their career outings
9 returned 8/1 or shorter
9 ran in a Group 1 last time
8 won last time
A O’Brien won it three times
As can be seen from the above stats, those who won last time out have a good record in this, which flags up Andre Fabre’s French 2,000 Guineas winner, Make Believe (3/1).
Unbeaten as a juvenile, Make Believe lost on his return in April, before stepping up to Classic success at Longchamp a month ago (1m, good to soft); Highland Reel was 6l back in sixth. Olivier Peslier gave the colt a shrewd ride from the front that day to score by a comfortable 3l, though it will be interesting to see if the field allow him that luxury up front again.
The only concern regarding Make Believe is that he has yet to try fast ground, and his connections will be hoping there is rain.
Stoute’s Value Option
Away from the Guineas form, there is the small matter of Sir Michael Stoute’s unbeaten colt, Consort (6/1), who made his second racecourse appearance one to remember last month. Having won his maiden with ease last year, Consort was up into Listed grade at Sandown where he smashed the opposition to come up the hill impressively.
Tuesday represents a big step up for Consort, but Stoute is not usually wrong when pitching them in deep, and has Frankie Dettori booked.
There is a big gap before the next contender at 25/1 in Belardo, who took last season’s Group 1 Dewhurst (7f, soft), and was under 2l behind Gleneagles at the Curragh. He has talent, but will need more to reverse form with the favourite.
Everything looks in place for a cracking showdown between the Irish and French Guineas winners, but Gleneagles looks the one who will be celebrating in the Royal Enclosure. His turn of foot will prove an asset.
*Prices correct at time of publication.