06/14/2016 11:07AM

Galileo Gold gets winning trip in St. James's Palace


Frankie Dettori and Galileo Gold got first run on their two main rivals and held off unlucky favorite The Ghurka to win the St. James’s Palace Stakes, the last of three Group 1's on Tuesday’s opening card of the Royal Ascot meeting.

Dettori, winning his 53rd race at a Royal meeting, positioned English 2000 Guineas winner Galileo Gold in second, just behind pace-setting Cimric in this one-mile, right-handed mile for 3-year-olds, and that made all the difference. Meanwhile, The Ghurkha, trained by Aidan O’Brien and ridden by Ryan Moore, was bet down to odds-on in North America, but got away slowly and had poor position throughout, with one horse beat halfway through the St. James’s Palace.

Both he and Awtaad quickened on solidly in the final three furlongs, but Awtaad, who had beaten Galileo Gold last out in the Irish 2000 Guineas, drifted right about 1 1/2 furlongs out, cutting off the path of The Ghurkha, who had to be steered outside for his final run. The Ghurkha was closing on Galileo Gold, but the finish came faster, with the winner home by 1 1/4 lengths and Awtaad another half-length behind. Time for the mile on soft ground over Ascot’s round course was 1:44.01.

It was the first Royal Ascot victory for trainer Hugo Palmer, who trains Galileo Gold for Sheikh Joaan al Thani’s Al Shaquab racing. Galileo Gold, by Paco Boy and out of the Galileo mare Galicuix, was a high-class juvenile, having won three of five starts at 2. He captured the English Guineas in his 3-year-old bow but was soon ruled out of the Epsom Derby after his connections said genetic tests strongly suggested the colt would not be effective over 1 1/2 miles. Galileo Gold instead went to the Curragh, where he was beaten more than two lengths by Awtaad before comfortably reversing that decision Tuesday.

The Ghurkha, who had won the French 2000 Guineas last out, lost little in defeat, and it’s possible the three colts will meet again in the Sussex Stakes at Goodwood this summer.

Profitable gets Group 1 win

Profitable won his third straight group sprint race this year and the first Group 1 of his career when he captured the King’s Stand Stakes by a neck over longshot Cotai Glory on Tuesday at Royal Ascot.

Goken was third by one length as favored Mecca’s Angel failed to fire, finishing 16th. The mercurial American invader Mongolian Saturday acted up going to the post, showed good early speed, but ran one-paced to the wire, finishing ninth. Another U.S.-based entrant, Acapulco, was scratched because of soft turf.

Four-year-old Profitable finished sixth in the Group 1 Commonwealth Cup for 3-year-olds over six furlongs at Royal Ascot in 2015, but he has since improved and appears to be a superior five-furlong horse. At that trip he won the Group 3 Palace House Stakes at Newmarket launching his 2016 campaign, followed by a narrow win over Mecca’s Angel last month in the Group 2 Temple at Haydock.

Profitable, a son of Invincible Spirit ridden by Adam Kirby for trainer Clive Cox, went one better Tuesday, hitting the front about a furlong out and holding on bravely for a narrow win.

Caravaggio overcomes hurdles

For the eighth time in his career Aidan O’Brien sent out the winner of the Group 2 Coventry Stakes, and Tuesday’s hero, Caravaggio, looks like a keeper.

Jockey Ryan Moore said Caravaggio won despite disliking the soft going, and Moore, racing in the stands’ side group of a split pack, had to go for home earlier than he wanted. But Caravaggio would not be deterred, racing alone between the two bunches of horses as he made his decisive move, edging toward the far side rail, and going on to an impressive 2 1/4-length win over Mehmas in the six-furlong Coventry.

A marker of how testing the conditions were at Ascot on Tuesday: It took Caravaggio 1:16.39 to cover three-quarters of a mile down a straightaway.

Caravaggio, an American-bred by the recently deceased Scat Daddy out of Mekko Hokte, by Holy Bull, now has three wins from three starts, and has yet to be seriously challenged in a race. O’Brien said he was concerned about Caravaggio, twice a winner over five furlongs, staying six furlongs on testing ground, but Caravaggio alleviated that concern and now will be viewed as a major early prospect for the English 2000 Guineas next spring.