The fifth and final day of Royal Ascot 2020, and with the additional races and reordering of races, it’s set to finish in style.
The St James’s Palace Stakes headlines the final day of the meeting, with a mouthwatering round 3 between Pinatubo and Wichita in store, and the exciting prospect of Palace Pier and a smart field snapping at their heels.
Pinatubo vs Wichita Round Three – Tale Of The Tape
Pinatubo last year’s champion two-year-old lost his unbeaten record in the 2000 Guineas on his latest start, finishing behind winner Kameko and runner up Wichita. Kameko is off for a tilt in the Epsom Derby leaving the second and third to do battle once more.
The Guineas was not the first time Pinatubo and Wichita had met, that came in the Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket in October last year. Pinatubo was sent off a warm favourite that day, returning at odds of 1-3 but duly obliged, beating Arizona by two lengths, with Wichita a further 2¾ lengths back in third. Wichita was the fancied runner of the O’Brien contingent, with the services of Ryan Moore and going off as 7-2 second favourite, it was a somewhat disappointing run. His master-trainer suggested that he is a big tall horse, and perhaps wouldn’t have like the conditions to be that slow, and that quick ground will see him to best effect.
A familiar location for round two, back at Newmarket, but this time over a mile and in the first classic of the season, the 2000 Guineas. Pinatubo once more was in warm order, not quite as short as in the Dewhurst, but favourite nonetheless, with an SP of 5-6. Wichita was not the first choice on jockey bookings with Ryan Moore opting for Arizona, but finished much the best of the O’Brien bunch and at the shortest odds of 15-2. A bigger disparity between Pinatubo and Wichita in the betting this time, probably off the back of the Dewhurst run, but as O’Brien has suggested, the better ground saw improvement from Wichita who levelled the scores, beating Pinatubo by a length and only a neck short of classic glory.
Round three is set to take place here in the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot. Over a mile, but at a different course, back on soft ground and this time the market can’t split them.
Our full Runner-by-runner guide, including our St James’s Palace tip, key trends and draw bias analysis can be found below!
St James’s Palace Stakes Runners
A very good two-year-old season, including winning the Coventry Stakes at last years Royal Ascot Meeting. Chased home Pinatubo on a couple of occasions at the Curragh and Newmarket before being sent of favourite in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf, where he finished fifth. Below-par return in the 2000 Guineas and still has stamina to prove.
Won both of his starts at two, and looked potentially top-class when stretching his unbeaten run to three at Newcastle. That was in handicap company, so it’s a huge class jump for him but left the impression that he belongs at this level with that emphatic victory.
Last season’s Champion Two-Year-Old, who won all six of his starts, and registered the highest juvenile rating in 25 years. Lost his unbeaten record on his reappearance in the 2000 Guineas, where he was beaten into third by the winner Kameko and Wichita in second. The winner is Epsom Derby bound but Wichita lines up once more, who he beat comfortably in the Dewhurst, to set up an exciting round 3 clash.
Winner of the Group 3 Solario Stakes at two, but was well behind three of today’s rivals, Pinatubo, Arizona and Wichita in the Dewhurst. Possibly didn’t run to his best that day, but still a tough ask to turn that form around here.
Found a huge chunk of improvement from somewhere to win the Royal Lodge at Newmarket in September, beating Kameko in the process. He didn’t back that run up however on his reappearance, finishing 15-lengths behind Kameko in the 2000 Guineas. Difficult to assess, but his form prior to the Royal Lodge gives him little chance here.
Won the Gimcrack and Champagne Stakes at two. Sidestepped the 2000 Guineas in favour of making his return here, and while his two-year-old form is strong, he’ll require a career-best on his first start over a mile to beat some of these.
A mixed two-year-old season, winning two of his four starts, with his best performance undoubtedly his 7-length victory in the Group 3 Tattersalls Stakes at Newmarket. He was slightly disappointing in the Dewhurst finishing 4¾ lengths behind Pinatubo in the Dewhurst, but conditions were incredibly testing that day and his trained suggested that may not have suited. He reversed that form in good style in the 2000 Guineas, however, only beaten a neck into second by Kameko and a length ahead of Pinatubo. He was comfortably on top of his rival Pinatubo there and is now the one to beat as the pair meet all square for round three of their budding rivalry.
St James’s Palace Stakes Tip – Wichita
St James’s Palace Stakes Key Trends
- 8 of the last 12 winners were either favourite or joint-favourites
- 11 of the last 12 winners had at least 2 previous flat wins
- 10 of the last 10 winners had a rating of 109 or higher
- 11 of the last 12 winners have previously won over 8f
The betting has been the best guide to the St James’s Palace Stakes in recent years, with 8 of the last 12 winners returning as favourites or joint-favourites. That can be extended further with 10 of the last 12 winners coming from the top-3 in the betting.
As thing stands that suggests Pinatubo, Wichita and Palace Pier are the three to concentrate on.
Each of the aforementioned three runners, have each won at least twice before and have earned a rating of 109 or higher, so the determining factor on the trends is being a previous distance winner.
Of the three, the only runner to have won over a mile is the unexposed improver Palace Pier.
Palace Pier stayed on strongly over that mile to score last time too with further likely to suit in time and his proven stamina can be an asset here, particularly if testing conditions test the speedier types.
Trends Pick: Palace Pier
Ascot Draw Bias – St James’s Palace Stakes
As with many races run on Ascot’s Straight Course, there isn’t an overwhelming draw bias. A field of just 7 is set to go to post in the St James’s Palace Stakes this year but in previous years, winners have come from low, middle and high draws.
The St James’s Palace Stakes is run over Ascot’s round mile, which sees the first two-thirds of the race run on the back straight before turning for home, giving jockeys ample time to position themselves accordingly ahead of the solitary bend. There are very few hard-luck stories over this course and distance, particularly with such a small field size.
Royal Ascot St James’s Palace Stakes Free bet Offers
Get a head start with your Royal Ascot bets by signing up to a bookmaker account and claiming a free bet. With eight races on the final day of Royal Ascot, bookmaker free bets can come in handy and firms will be competing with one another for the best offer. We have selected the best offers for our Day 5 Royal Ascot tips below, or you can view our free bets page for all the latest offers and free bets.