The battle of the 2,000 Guineas winners in the St James’s Palace Stakes saw a resounding victor as Curragh hero Paddington proved far too good for Newmarket scorer Chaldean on the opening day of Royal Ascot.
Frankie Dettori sent Chaldean to the front in the Group 1 mile contest, tracked by Indestructible, Galeron and Isaac Shelby, with Paddington posted three wide under Ryan Moore.
Despite the wider than ideal trip, Moore looked confident on the son of Siyouni as he started to chase down Chaldean in the home straight. Paddington hit the front with a furlong and a half to run and quickly put the race to bed, powering clear to record a decisive three and three-quarter length victory over Chaldean, with Charyn running on from the back of the field to claim third.
It was a ninth triumph in the St James’s Palace Stakes for Aidan O’Brien, the leading trainer in the race’s history.
O’Brien said: “Paddington is very exciting. John [Magnier] said to me that this horse would get further than a mile if you wanted him to, no problem. Ryan gave him a lovely ride – I thought he was excellent on him.
“Obviously, when Frankie is in front, it is always very dangerous, but Ryan gave him a masterful ride. He didn’t panic, produced him and he quickened. He is able to quicken very well – that is the big thing and what makes good horses great.
“The lads will have to think about whether they want to go to Goodwood for the Sussex Stakes. We will tell them after ten days how he is, and then they will decide between themselves what they want to do. But he has all the options, because he has the speed to be a top miler, like we see, so it’s very exciting.”
O’Brien and Moore had earlier teamed up to take the Group 2 Coventry Stakes with River Tiber for the Coolmore partners, a tenth strike in the six-furlong two-year-old contest for the master of Ballydoyle.
Army Ethos, impressive winner of his sole start at Ayr, threw down a string challenge in the centre of the course under Hollie Doyle but Moore was seen at his strongest on River Tiber, who kept on powerfully on the far side of the track to preserve his unbeaten record by a neck.
Hollie Doyle put that narrow defeat behind her to take the Group 1 King’s Stand Stakes (5f) on Bradsell for trainer Archie Watson and owner Victorious Racing.
The drop back to five furlongs worked the oracle for Bradsell, winner of the Coventry Stakes at the Royal Meeting a year ago, as he defeated favourite Highfield Princess by a length. A stewards’ enquiry was held after minor interference near the finish, but the places remained unaltered.
Watson said: “I am delighted. When Dragon Symbol had the race taken away, it was terrible, and I didn’t want to do too much celebrating, but I am just delighted for everyone. I know we’re seen as a big yard, but for a yard like us to be winning a Group 1 here is the best thing on the planet.
“There was dread when that bing-bong [of the stewards’ enquiry] happened, especially having just been chinned in the Coventry, but it’s amazing and I’m so pleased for everyone involved.
“My whole team have done a great job with him. We just felt this year he was showing a lot more speed in his races and not getting home over six. I thought we’d get a proper tow into the race today, and I didn’t want to sound arrogant but nothing could take us off the bridle until deep into the race, and it was kind of what we really felt with him. I’m just so glad he’s justified the belief today.”
The opening contest on the first day of Royal Ascot, the Group 1 Queen Anne Stakes, witnessed an upset as 33-1 outsider Triple Time under Neil Callan got the better of Inspiral and Frankie Dettori in a terrific finish.
Triple Time, making his first appearance of the season for trainer Kevin Ryan and owner Sheikh Obaid, raced keenly and soon pulled his way to the front in the mile contest.
Despite his exuberance, Triple Time was still in front approaching the final furlong as Inspiral appeared with what looked a winning challenge on the far side under Dettori.
Yet Triple Time, running for the first time at the top level, found extra near the finish to gain the day by a neck from Inspiral, with Light Infantry two and a half lengths away in third.
Ryan said: “Triple Time was in great shape coming into the race. We’ve always had great faith in the horse; Sheikh Mohammed Obaid has been very patient. Unfortunately, he got a bit of stomach cramp just before the Lockinge and we had to take him out, and he’s only had one ordinary run – that was in France in October on deep ground. Now hopefully we will have a full season with him, and he’s got his Group 1, which is great.
“I am delighted for all my team, and my family. Umar, who looks after him, has done a magnificent job, and Sheikh Mohammed Obaid has been a big, big supporter of ours. He’s so patient, and I’m delighted to have a big one for him, especially here.
“Triple Time is up there with the best I’ve had – he’s very good. He’s not a keen horse but he’s got a massive stride, and he’s not the type of horse you can break that stride. He’s very tough. We knew we had him as good as we could get him without a run and it’s paid off.”