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Coroebus digs deep to prevail in thrilling G1 St James’s Palace Stakes


Coroebus joined a select group of colts to win both the G1 2,000 Guineas and G1 St James’s Palace Stakes with a tenacious victory in the mile showpiece at Royal Ascot on Tuesday, 14 June.

The Charlie Appleby-trained three-year-old, who had shown a potent turn of foot when beating Native Trail in the Newmarket Classic, found plenty of cover on the inside rail as he raced freely behind Lusail, My Prospero and Aikhal.

Coroebus continued to track the leaders into the straight but William Buick was forced to wait for a gap to appear passing the two-furlong marker.

A seam on the inside rail presented itself soon after as Aikhal faded and Lusail edged out, with Coroebus quickening strongly to grab the lead approaching the final furlong.

The Godolphin homebred bravely found more in front, seeing off a host of challenges in the closing strides for a head verdict over Lusail. My Prospero took third, a further short-head in arrears, with less than a length separating the first five home.

Charlie Appleby said: “It was a tough and gritty performance from Coroebus. We knew coming into today that it will be a different style of race. Full credit to the rest of the field, they deserve to be here and I just wish the pace had been stronger. William just said Coroebus was taking him on the whole way round. Thankfully, the turn allowed him to have a breather.

"I felt it was class and determination which got us over the line there. Going forward, we'll have discussions, but I think the Sussex Stakes is an option along with the Prix Jacques Le Marois. Wherever we go, there is pace there.

"The Sussex Stakes is a race we have spoken about beforehand in that we'd potentially like to see Coroebus take on Baaeed. It is always a fantastic race, with the older horses and the three-year-olds taking each other on. We were confident beforehand that we would hopefully be doing that on the back of today and I think that is still very much in conversation.

"As always we'll let the dust settle, and the discussions with His Highness Sheikh Mohammed and the team and we'll firm those plans up. On the evidence of what I have seen today he deserves to be there for sure.

"Baaeed was a very impressive winner, taking nothing away from him, but his was just our horse's fifth start of his career, and I thought it was a gutsy performance in a race that probably wasn't run particularly to suit us.

"It is going to be a big learning curve for him today. I was delighted with how he took it in the preliminaries – he has never been more than 20 minutes up the road out of Newmarket and those challenges have been put upon him and he has ticked the boxes."

William Buick added: "You have to enjoy these good horses. I'm very privileged to get on these good horses, but at the same time, it is a case of getting the job done.

"It was one of those races where it was tricky. I had a good draw, but a good draw can turn into a bad draw very quickly. Coroebus travels extremely strong and you just want him to drop his head. In the straight, I had to go for the rail and there was enough room.

"I had two options. I could have come back a stride and gone around them which I was prepared to do, but when Pat Dobbs [on Lusail] went on and didn't go to the fence, it was a very natural place for me to go. He was brave, has a good turn of foot and a will to win. He has everything you could ask for in a racehorse.

"The St James's Palace is always confirmation of a top three-year-old miler. Of his generation, he and Native Trail are the best around."