By Tony McFadden 10:36AM 12 JUN 2016
THE eagerly-anticipated clash between Classic winners Awtaad, Galileo Gold and The Gurkha is set to take place at Royal Ascot on Tuesday as all three colts featured among the eight declarations for the St James’s Palace Stakes.
Galileo Gold was an impressive winner of the Qipco 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket but had no answer to Awtaad in the Irish equivalent at the Curragh, while The Gurkha stormed clear to win the French 2,000 Guineas by a wide margin.
Further intrigue is added to the race by the return of Emotionless, who looked a leading contender for Classic honours before disappointing in the Dewhurst Stakes on his final start as a juvenile.
Emotionless missed the 2,000 Guineas but trainer Charlie Appleby is happy to let him take his chance in the St James’s Palace Stakes, where he will be ridden by William Buick.
“He’s had long time off and it’s a very, very hot race but the horse has come right, he looks good and it’s at the right time of year for him,” Buick said. “We still think he retains all the ability he had last year. He’s in at the deep end but we are looking forward to getting him back.”
Bookmakers make The Gurkha the general 6-4 favourite to provide trainer Aidan O’Brien with a fifth St James’s Palace Stakes in the last ten years, while Awtaad is next in the betting at 2-1.
Galileo Gold can be backed at 11-2 with Paddy Power to return to winning ways and Emotionless is 12-1 to strike on his reappearance.
The eight-runner field is completed by Zonderland, First Selection, Cymric and Ehtiraas.
More to follow…