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St James’s Palace: Araafa to follow up?
by Handicappers ( / Globeform (
Last update: 2007-02-19 09:36:11 (First published: 2006-06-17 07:45:33 )

Royal Ascot Tuesday: Araafa, upset winner of the Irish 2000 Guineas (G1) at The Curragh, where he beat George Washington, will be a short priced favourite for the St. James’s Palace Stakes (G1).

But will he be too short? Undoubtedly the best horse going into this mile contest, and facing a sub-standard field, he is hard to oppose – but the course and the ground will be somewhat different this time.

His chief rival may be the French raider Stormy River, who tries to bounce back after being a losing favourite in the Poule d’Essai des Poulains (G1) at Longchamp after impressing in his prep for that Classic.


Royal Ascot 20 June 2006 – 1 mile Turf

Horses presented with best Globeform, sire, rider

118 – ARAAFA (Mull Of Kintyre) + / A Munro
113 – DECADO (Danehill Dancer) + / D P McDonogh
112 – IVAN DENISOVICH (Danehill) / K Fallon
111 – MARCUS ANDRONICUS (Danehill) + / tba
111 – STORMY RIVER (Verglas) / O Peslier
110 – YASOODD (Inchinor) / C Catlin
109 – ROYAL POWER (Xaar) / L Dettori
104 – METROPOLITAN MAN (Dr Fong) / K McEvoy
103 – AEROPLANE (Danehill Dancer) + / E Ahern
100 – YARQUS (Diktat) / R Moore
..99 – ARABIAN PRINCE (Fusaichi Pegasus) / tba

Araafa’s win in the Irish 2000 Guineas (G1) came on soft ground and marked significant improvement on his previous form. As he had been fourth in the 2000 Guineas (G1) at Newmarket, so there was nothing ‘impossible’ about his step up though. There is no reason to think that it was a fluke. Araafa can repeat that level of course, but can he do so on fast ground? The ground was quite testing when he beat George Washington at The Curragh in May. It will be different during Royal Ascot week. The track is also quite different. Taking a short price about Araafa is betting on a couple of unknown factors. What we do know, however, is that he takes the best form into the contest. He ran to Globeform 118+ in Ireland.

He is a son of Mull of Kintyre out of a sister to top sprinter Pivotal – and on breeding thus also a horse that may be effective over shorter than a mile. Ascot’s short straight should be against his chances. Araafa does look the one to beat. But the St. James’s Palace has so often brought a new name to the fore over he years – as colts who were not quite ready when the Guineas races were run come into their own with sparkling summer form.

There are some possible improvers in opposition here but we can’t see one that jumps out as a horse likely to improve considerably – so, we have to go with Araafa here. If he reproduces his Curragh form, he’ll probably win.

Stormy River was favourite for the French ‘2000’ – the Poule d’Essai des Poulains (G1) at Longchamp, but after striking the front some way out he was run out of it late by the two Ballydoyle colts, Aussie Rules and Marcus Andronicos. Stormy River had been a visually impressive winner of the trial for the Poulains but he did not improve on that running in the big race (where he carried his head high and ran as if something was amiss). Does this mean that we have seen the best of this colt? Possibly not. He still has the profile of an improver. Soft ground may be the key though, as his win in the Prix de Fontainebleau (G3) was gained on soft – his Listed win in April on heavy, as was his second in a G1 last year also came with give. On the plus side; the relatively short straight will be to his liking – he has a good chance of finishing in the top three.

Ivan Denisovich was seventh in the Poulains, beaten 4 ¼ lengths behind stable companion Aussie Rules. He did not run up to his best that day. It is also questionable whether he will be able to regain his best form of last year, when he closed his campaign by running 12th of 14, badly beaten behind Stevie Wonderboy, in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) at Belmont. One can argue that his peak, when he was second to Europe’s best juvenile filly Silca’s Sister in the Prix Morny (G1), also was a bit overrated at the time – but let’s see that filly a couple of times more before we decide to drop or keep the ratings for that race.

Decado, a Danehill Dancer colt out of a half-sister to Fracas, made a perfect start to his 3yo season, with two smooth wins but he had to settle for third behind Araafa and George Washington in the Irish 2000 Guineas (G1). He had beaten the subsequent G3 winner Queen Cleopatra with ease in a Listed event over 7 furlongs (soft) at the Curragh in April, and stepped up on that form to beat Sir Xaar and Hurricane Cat in the Tetrarch Stakes (G3) over the same course and distance in May (good to soft). Sir Xaar and Hurricane Cat were both Group winners last year but they had no chance with Kevin Prendergast’s colt. Decado was running on strongly to win by 3 ½ lengths and he still fits into the ‘lightly raced, progressive type category’.

Marcus Andronicus should not be dismissed. Bred to improve with age, out of the classy older US mare Fiji, that is also what he seems to be doing. He took a big step forward when staying on to grab second in the Poule d’Essai des Poulains (G1) – pipping Stormy River on the line, and he holds just as good a chance as stable companion Ivan Denisovich. At around 8-1, Marcus Andronicus is the each-way bet of the race.




2 Araafa


A: 2 to beat 4
B: 2 to beat 6, 9
C: 4 to beat 2


A: 2 with 4 with 6, 9
B: 2 with 6, 9 with 4

2005 St. James’s Palace Stakes (G1)

1 – Shamardal (Giant’s Causeway) GF 117+ K McEvoy / S bin Suroor
2 – Indesatchel (Danehill Dancer) GF 117+
3 – Gharir (Machiavellian) GF 116+

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