Kingman can storm the Palace

  • By: Ian Ogg
  • Last Updated: June 16 2014, 12:19 BST

Ian Ogg's horse-by-horse guide to the St James's Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot.

Kingman can live up to the hype in the St James's Palace
Kingman can live up to the hype in the St James's Palace

Kingman

Brilliant winner of the Greenham on his reappearance who has gone on to finish second and first in the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket and the Curragh respectively. The field split into two groups at Newmarket which may not have helped but connections were offering no excuses for his defeat by Night Of Thunder. They're happy to take on the winner again, though, and all of his other form has pointed to him being top class and he's the one to beat.

Night Of Thunder

He may have been 40/1 when winning at Newmarket but Richard Hughes has always been a supporter and there was no element of a fluke about the victory where he won despite hanging from one side of the course to the other. Any repeat of those antics could be more damaging at this venue but there's very little between himself and Kingman on their Guineas form and it would be folly to assume that he isn't capable of making further progress.

Outstrip

Smart juvenile whose form included a close second to Toormore and a defeat of French Derby winner The Grey Gatsby as well as victory at the Breeders' Cup. Disappointing on his return to action in the Guineas which leaves him with plenty to prove but a return to his best could see him get involved.

Prince Of All

Shaped promisingly on his sole start at two and has done nothing but impress in two starts on the polytrack at Dundalk this season with connections mooting a tilt at the Irish Guineas after his Listed success. This obviously represents his stiffest task to date but he's answered every call thus far and can't be dismissed out of hand despite the exacting standard set by the principals.

Toormore

Last season's champion juvenile blotted his copybook in the 2000 Guineas with connections unable to pinpoint a reason for the display. He is more of a grinder than the likes of Kingman and, reportedly, only does enough in his races which could leave to him being underestimated but it will take a leap of faith to back him to produce a career best on the back of such a disappointing performance.

War Command

Another runner with plenty to find with the market leaders on their running at Newmarket. It's possible that he could improve for the outing while his brilliant performance when winning the Coventry Stakes on this card 12 months ago offers a modicum of encouragement for his supporters. The suspicion is, though, that he falls short of the very best at this level and the application of cheekpieces suggest connections are looking for ways to eke out some improvement.

Yuften

Bumped into a useful colt on his debut and can be forgiven for failing to build on that next time. Looked a colt with a future when running away with his maiden but has been dropped straight in at the deep end and he'll do remarkably well to keep his head above water for all his obvious promise.

Summary

It's tempting to bill this as a two-horse race and that certainly fits the much sought after narrative for a season.

It's too early in a campaign to be writing off the likes of Outstrip, Toormore and War Command but all three do have questions to answer now while the other two runners face a steep rise in class.

It's possible that they could answer the call but the top two in the market set a clear and high standard with the Guineas form working out exceptionally well and it is difficult to look beyond them.

The overriding reaction to Newmarket was one of disappointment that Kingman hadn't produced the thrilling display that so many deemed him capable of after the Greenham but his victory in the Irish 2000 breathed new life into those dreams.

That may be doing a disservice to Night Of Thunder but John Gosden's colt does everything so effortlessly that he's always looked hugely exciting and he's taken to thrill his fans once again and throw down the gauntlet to the star milers.