Frankel - Winner of the 2011 St James's Palace Stakes at Royal AscotAs Royal Ascot 2012 looms ever larger on the horizon, we take a look at another big race in our quest to pick out some winners. This time, it’s the St. James’s Palace Stakes – a Group One race over a mile for three year old colts only, that was won last year by the amazing Frankel. But which of the 2012 St. James’s Palace field will follow in Frankel’s hoof prints? Read our preview, and you might just find out…

Like most major races, in order for a horse to win Royal Ascot’s St. James’s Palace Stakes it must have a certain profile. Let’s cast our analytical eye over the most recent winners of the race and attempt to pick out the key trends that emerge, in an attempt to build up that profile, which we can then apply to the 2012 field in order to help us pick out the winner.

Key Trends

Breeding

  • All of the last 12 winners of the St. James’s Palace Stakes were born before April 26th
  • 10 of the last 12 winners were sired by a Group / Grade One winner

It’s clearly important to focus on more mature individuals, as nothing born after April 26th has won the St. James’s Palace Stakes in the last twelve years. A classy pedigree would be preferred too, given that the vast majority of winners have been sired by a Group One winner.

Past Form

  • All of the last 12 St. James’s Palace Stakes winners had already won a Group One or Group Two, prior to their Royal Ascot success
  • 9 of the last 12 winners had won a Group One
  • 11 of the last 12 winners won first time out in their two year old career

As we can clearly see from these trends, a St. James’s Palace Stakes winner needs to be a really classy sort. All of the last twelve winners had won a Group Two (or better) heading to Royal Ascot, and nine of those were already Group One winners. Furthermore, ten of the twelve had won their Group One or Two race as a two year old and the vast majority (eleven of the twelve) had won the first race of their career.

Recent Form

  • All 12 of the last 12 St. James’s Palace Stakes winners had run within the 30 days leading up to Royal Ascot
  • 11 of the last 12 winners had finished in the first two of the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket, or the Irish or French equivalent

Clearly we should be looking for a horse that heads to Royal Ascot with some race sharpness under its belt; preferably having run in the 2000 Guineas, the Irish 2000 Guineas or the Poule d’Essai des Poulains (French 2000 Guineas). The one exception to the 2000 Guineas trend is Excellent Art, who contested the French Guineas and finished fourth.

Summary

For me, the most telling of all the trends is that eleven of the last twelve St. James’s Palace Stakes winners finished in the front two of the French, Irish or Newmarket 2000 Guineas, the one exception having managed to run fourth in the French Guineas. Simply looking at the placed horses in these three races seems the most obvious starting point in our search for the 2012 St. James’s Palace Stakes winner, so that’s what we will do.

Of the horses currently entered into the 2012 St. James’s Palace Stakes, we have Hermival from the front three of the Newmarket 2000 Guineas and Power, Foxtrot Romeo and Reply from the Irish 2000 Guineas. None of the French Guineas entrants are entered in this year’s St. James’s Palace Stakes.

Using the rest of the St. James’s Palace Stakes trends, we can easily eliminate Reply, Foxtrot Romeo and Hermival (all have yet to win a Group race), which leaves us with just Power.

At a best price of 5.00 (Bet365, SportingBet, William Hill), you might not get rich backing Power to win the St. James’s Palace Stakes, but sometimes you just have to look the facts in the face. The horse has top class form in the book, it meets all of the key trends and it would seem that opposing it with a bigger priced selection might well prove futile.

Advice

The St. James’s Palace Stakes
Tuesday 19th June 2012, 15:45

Power @ 5.00 (SportingBet)

Don’t forget to check out our other Royal Ascot 2012 tips and follow us on Twitter @betpal_!