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2020 St James’s Palace Stakes Tips – Who will prevail in thrilling Guineas rematch?

  • This Group One has been moved from day one of Royal Ascot to day five
  • Two of the top three from the 2000 Guineas top the betting
  • Can any of the other entrants get involved?
2000 guineas
Wichita (centre) and Pinatubo (second right) finishing behind Kameko in the 2000 Guineas. (Getty)

We take a look through the betting for this Group One on day five of Royal Ascot and provide readers with our tips for Saturday 20th June.

Usually held on the opening afternoon of Royal Ascot, the St James’s Palace Stakes offers three-year-old milers the chance to claim a prestigious Group One prize. As the 2020 season has been condensed and the 2000 Guineas was staged a month later than planned, Ascot organisers have pushed the St James’s Palace Stakes back to day five, in order to give Guineas runners four extra days to recover.

2020 St James’s Palace Stakes Odds


Name
Best Odds
Pinatubo15/8
Wichita2/1
Palace Pier5/1
Threat11/1
Arizona14/1
Positive14/1
Royal Dornoch50/1

Odds available as of 19/6/20

2020 St James’s Palace Stakes Favourite


Pinatubo2020 St James's Palace Stakes FavouriteGET 15/8 HERE
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We have a real fight for favouritism going on at the head of the St James’s Palace Stakes market, with Wichita and Pinatubo topping the betting with different firms.

Having run roughshod through the juvenile ranks in 2019, Pinatubo was the odds-on favourite to win the first Classic of the season. Sadly, for Charlie Appleby and Godolphin, it wasn’t Pinatubo’s day, and the favourite had to settle for third behind Kameko and Wichita.

Wichita was my each-way selection that day, and Frankie Dettori gave him an excellent front-running ride. Try as he might, Pinatubo couldn’t edge past is Irish rival and, for a brief moment, Dettori will have thought he had the Guineas in the bag, only for Kameko to fly home on the outside and pip Wichita to the post.

Wichita2020 St James's Palace Stakes FavouriteGET 2/1 HERE
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2020 St James’s Palace Stakes Form Guide


Hot on the leader’s coat-tails is Palace Pier, who remains unbeaten after three career-starts. John Gosden took full advantage of his charge’s lowly handicap mark, throwing Palace Pier into a handicap at Newcastle on his reappearance, and the odds-on favourite ran out a comfortable winner. 

The Derby is the primary target for this talented son on Kingman, so the uphill finish here at Ascot will certainly play into Palace Pier’s hands. Whether he has the class or experience to overhaul two rivals who posted RPRs of over 120 on their last start, I’m not so sure.

Richard Hannon decided to bypass the Guineas with Threat, fearing the undulating track wouldn’t suit his Gimcrack and Champagne Stakes winner. Although Threat did brilliantly to win the Champagne Stakes carrying a penalty, I wasn’t totally convinced he saw out seven furlongs all that well. Hannon is confident Threat will get a mile no problem now he’s strengthened up and filled out, but I still have my reservations.

Arizona drifted markedly on the day of the 2000 Guineas and duly ran a very poor race. Ryan Moore’s mount began to lose his pitch at the half-way stage and never recovered, crossing the line with just four horses behind him. Maybe Arizona was simply in desperate need of the run. Or maybe he doesn’t like the track at Newmarket. While it’s clear that wasn’t the real Arizona and there must have been an excuse for such a limp display, I can’t bring myself to back him on the back of such a poor effort.

Like Threat, Positive skipped the Guineas in favour of a trip to Royal Ascot. Positive’s form looks very good, when you consider Clive Cox’s charge beat Kameko in the Solario Stakes. However, Royal Dornach beat the 2000 Guineas winner in the Royal Lodge Stakes last term, and there 20-lengths between the two when they squared off again in the Guineas. Positive was twice hammered by Pinatubo in 2019 and I think Cox will have his eye on the places, at best.

While the rest of the field clearly has talent, I don't think anyone will be good enough to turn the tables on either Wichita and Pinatubo, though, and I feel the St James’s Palace Stakes will go to one or the other.

2000 guineas
Wichita wins the battle for second with Pinatubo in the 2000 Guineas. (Getty)

2020 St James’s Palace Stakes Tips


Wichita2020 St James's Palace Stakes TipGET 7/4 HERE
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Given he was such a superstar at two, I would love to see Pinatubo bounce back to winning ways at Ascot. My heart tells me he’s the classiest horse in the race and the most likely winner. However, my head and my eyes are telling me different.

Yes, Pinatubo got a bit lit up heading down to the stalls, and yes, William Buick could have timed his push into contention better. The fact remains that Pinatubo simply couldn’t pass WICHITA, who had been sitting on the frenetic pace for the majority of the race. 

I think the testing nature of the track at Ascot will suit a big galloping sort like Wichita more than Pinatubo. Plus, No Nay Never's progeny boast a 25% strike rate on genuinely soft ground. I’m expecting Aidan O’Brien’s charge to rubber-stamp the form of the Guineas with a maiden Group One victory.

St James's Palace Stakes FAQs

Who won the 2019 St James' Palace Stakes?

Circus Maximus beat King Of Comedy and Too Darn Hot in the 2019 St James's Palace Stakes.

When is the St James's Palace Stakes held?

In 2020, the St James's Palace Stakes has been moved to the fifth and final day of Royal Ascot.

How can I watch the St James's Palace Stakes?

The race will be shown live on ITV Racing. Visit our Live Streaming page to find out how you can watch every race at Royal Ascot on your mobile or tablet.

Verdict

I think Wichita and Pinatubo are some-way clear of their rivals here. I'm going to side with Wichita, after he held Pinatubo at arm's length in the Guineas. I wouldn't put anyone off the reverse forecast though.

2020 St James's Palace Stakes Tip: Wichita Straight Win @3.00 at William Hill - 20 Units

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