06/20/2017 1:29PM

Royal Ascot: Barney Roy caps big day for Godolphin in St. James's Palace Stakes


Barney Roy completed a Royal Ascot opening-day Group 1 double for Godolphin when he won the St. James’s Palace Stakes by one length over Lancaster Bomber. Thunder Snow finished third, and odds-on favorite Churchill ran the worst race of his career, checking in fourth following five straight wins at the Group 1 level.

Godolphin, which also campaigns St. James’s Palace third-place finisher Thunder Snow, won the Group 1 Queen Anne with Ribchester and added a one-two finish in the listed Windsor Castle Stakes on Tuesday with Sound and Silence and Roussel.

Making just his fourth start Tuesday, Barney Roy, who is trained by Richard Hannon Jr., won his first two races before finishing a troubled second to Churchill in the English 2000 Guineas, an encouraging performance that made him clear second favorite on Tuesday.

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His journey in the St. James’s Palace, a one-turn mile for 3-year-olds, got off to a troubled start when jockey James Doyle’s saddle slipped back several inches just after the break. Barney Roy raced inside from fifth position in the early stages, not looking entirely comfortable as Lancaster Bomber led Rivet and Thunder Snow, but when Doyle steered to the outside and into the clear, Barney Roy got into a nice rhythm around the turn.

Churchill tried to follow Barney Roy as he edged closer to the leaders, but never really appeared to be taking jockey Ryan Moore anywhere, and when Doyle briskly asked the question and Barney Roy began cutting down Lancaster Bomber and Thunder Snow, Churchill could not stick with him. Barney Roy hit the front inside the final furlong and pushed clear to assert his superiority.

“We’ve got a lot of confidence in this horse,” Hannon said. “I just wanted him to have a chance to show what he is, and I don’t think he really got that chance in the Guineas.”

Barney Roy is from the first crop of the sire Excelebration and became his first Group 1 winner. Bred in Great Britain, he was produced by the Galileo mare Alina. His second win from four starts, Tuesday's victory was his first group stakes score, and probably there is more to come from Barney Roy, who figures to face older rivals either in the Eclipse Stakes over 10 furlongs or the Sussex at one mile.

Lancaster Bomber had played understudy to Churchill throughout his career, but finished more than two lengths in front of him Tuesday, a sign of how far below form Churchill performed in the St. James’s Palace. Thunder Snow ran one of his better races to just miss second, showing absolutely no signs of the bucking antics that caused him to be pulled up early in the Kentucky Derby.

Barney Roy was timed in 1:37.22, a quick clocking on Ascot’s round course but one obviously enhanced by fast ground on Ascot’s opening day. He paid $7.80 to win in North American betting.

Windsor Castle: Godolphin strikes again

Sound and Silence gave Godolphin its third winner on opening day and jockey William Buick his second, beating stablemate Roussel by a neck in the listed Windsor Castle Stakes, a five-furlong race for 2-year-olds that closed the Tuesday card at Royal Ascot. Charlie Appleby trains both horses.

Sound and Silence won his career debut at Newmarket in April, but had finished fourth of five at Sandown in his second start before rebounding Tuesday. Roussel had 1 1/4 lengths on third-place James Garfield, while pace-setting Elizabeth Darcy, with Edgar Prado up for Wesley Ward, held decently to finish sixth of 22. The second Ward runner, Nootka Sound, never got a call and checked in 17th.

Sound and Silence is by Exceed and Excel and out of Veil of Silence, by Elusive Quality. He was timed in 59.20 for the straight-course five furlongs.