Improving Paddington in a league of his own in St James’s Palace Stakes
Irish 2,000 Guineas winner Paddington (11/5) cemented his position as the best three-year-old miler around by comprehensively seeing off 2,000 Guineas winner Chaldean in the G1 St James’s Palace Stakes.
Despite racing three-wide on the bend, the fast-improving Paddington quickened strongly in the straight under Ryan Moore before powering clear to score by an emphatic three and three-quarter lengths.
Paddington’s fifth successive win takes Aidan O’Brien above Sir Michael Stoute as the most successful current Royal Ascot trainer with 83 wins, nine of which have come in this prestigious mile contest.
Frankie Dettori had his own way out in front on Newmarket hero Chaldean but the colt had no answer to the winner’s change of gear. Charyn kept on well from off the pace to edge out Isaac Shelby for third.
O’Brien said: “Paddington is very exciting. John [Magnier] said to me that this horse would get further than a mile if you wanted him to, no problem. Ryan gave him a lovely ride – I thought he was excellent on him.
“Obviously, when Frankie is in front, it is always very dangerous, but Ryan gave him a masterful ride. He didn’t panic, produced him and he quickened. He is able to quicken very well – that is the big thing and what makes good horses great.
“The lads will have to think about whether they want to go to Goodwood for the Sussex Stakes. We will tell them after 10 days how he is, and then they will decide between themselves what they want to do. But he has all the options, because he has the speed to be a top miler, like we see, so it’s very exciting.”
Discussing Paddington’s unusual route to the top level, O’Brien said: “What we try in the spring is to get the horses out, and most of them are too high to be in a handicap, and we go the route we can start them at, and try to start as low as we can.
“The Madrid Handicap in Ireland is always a good race, like the [discontinued] Free Handicap here, if you can get into it. He won his maiden nice, but it mustn’t have been a brilliant maiden, and then he obviously got a nice mark. He didn’t win bolting on the bridle or anything, he won nicely without being over-impressive.”
Moore said: “Paddington has a lot of class. He stepped well and then two of the boys kicked on and I lost my cover going into the bend. I didn’t want Frankie going on, but maybe I should have been a bit cold and ridden him from further back.
“He took me there quite easy and, when he put his foot down, he found plenty. He’s a very good colt who is improving and improving. He’s a proper horse – very straightforward – and he put them away very easily. I am very happy with him.”
Chaldean’s trainer Andrew Balding said: “He was beaten by a very good horse. Frankie has just felt he probably just overdid it a little early, but I’m not sure whether that would have made a difference to the result. Two very high class horses.”
Frankie Dettori added: “Chaldean is a super horse. He found one too good today, but he was a good second. It was a solid run.”
Roger Varian said of Charyn: “I am delighted with how he ran – he seems to be improving. We were happy to put a line through his run in the 2,000 Guineas, but I was very happy with his run at the Curragh last time. He was beaten the same distance today by Paddington as he was at the Curragh. He’s versatile, tough and genuine. Now we’ll have to place him to win one of these. I don’t think he’s out of place in this company and I think he’ll keep improving all year. He has finished third to two Guineas winners today and in another 100 yards he might have got second.”
David Egan added: “I was always confident that Charyn would outrun his odds. I saw he was 80/1 or so earlier in the day – crazy stuff, because he ran a great race in the Irish Guineas. He had a rough race, as did most in the English Guineas and was second at Newbury behind Isaac Shelby, so he’s obviously turned that form around. I’m very proud of the horse – he has showed he has enough talent to compete with the big boys.”
4.20pm St James’s Palace Stakes (Group 1) (British Champions Series)
1 Paddington (Tabor, Smith, Magnier, Westerberg, Brant) Aidan O’Brien IRE 3-9-02 Ryan Moore 11/5
2 Chaldean (Juddmonte) Andrew Balding 3-9-02 Frankie Dettori 13/8F
3 Charyn (Nurlan Bizakov) Roger Varian 3-9-02 David Egan 33/1
Aidan O’Brien – 83rd Royal Ascot winner
Ryan Moore – 75th Royal Ascot winner
Sectional times: https://royalascot2023.racenewslive.co.uk/sectional-times/