Kingman dominates in Palace
The John Gosden-trained Kingman silenced any doubters with a breathtaking performance in the Group 1 St James Palace Stakes, reversing form with 2000 Guineas winner Night Of Thunder.
Kingman, a facile winner of the Irish Guineas at the Curragh last time out, had failed to get the better of the reposing Night Of Thunder in the English equivalent. Despite his surprise defeat in the English Guineas, the son of Invincible Spirit was a heavily supported 8-11 market leader for the feature race on day one of the Royal meeting.
Under an in-form Richard Hughes, Night Of Thunder was given an exceptional ride and dictated the pace from an early stage. James Doyle looked a confident figure on Kingman throughout and having travelled powerfully, his mount made up the ground in a matter of strides when asked to extend, showing a potent turn of foot to cruise home a 2 1/4 length victor.
Night Of Thunder stayed on without ever threatening the winner to finish a worthy second, with Outstrip finishing back in third.
Winning jockey Doyle said: “That was awesome, that’s the best way to describe it. It’s almost as if they can’t go quick enough for him, even when you go you feel like you’ve gone too soon. He’s got so much pace, he’s almost climbing over the back of them wanting them to go quicker. I’m just very lucky to be sat on his back, I can’t thank Prince Khalid (Abdullah) enough for giving me this opportunity.
“Nothing changed my opinion of him being the best three-year-old and we can forget the Guineas now – just look at that. I’ll probably get a bit of stick for that (putting his finger to his lips on passing the post), I probably shouldn’t have done it but I let myself go.”
Gosden said: “He has fantastic acceleration, I sat down with James in the weighing room because I didn’t want to get confused with everyone else’s tactics in the parade ring. I said whatever they do, ride him cool.
“I was so impressed with their tactics. They took Toormore back and sent Night Of Thunder on and that was really clever because he stays well and James could have thought ‘oh my god, what are they going to do’. I said the slower they go, fine, because of his turn of foot – and for a young boy he rode him brilliantly.
“When a horse wins a maiden and he’s favourite for the Guineas it’s a bit embarrassing for the horse, but fortunately he doesn’t read the newspapers so it’s only us who have had to bear the pressure. He’s a gorgeous horse with a great mind and when they have that turn of foot it is what the game is all about.
“I’d like to freshen him up now as he’s had four races. We’ll think about races like the Sussex and the Jacques le Marois and then back here the QEII.
“It’s a great credit to Prince Khalid and Juddmonte, to their breeding operation. I was with Henry (Cecil) when Frankel won this and he had an anxious moment as he went too early. We do not compare ourselves to Frankel, but it’s great for Juddmonte to have another lovely horse.”
By Joseph Smyth / Photo: EMPICS Sport
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