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Progressive Wootton ready and able for St James’s

J A McGrath

Godolphin trainer Henri-Alex Pantall has delivered a positive report about lightly-raced Wootton, who tackles his toughest assignment in Tuesday’s G1 St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot.

The three-year-old tasted defeat for the first time when a creditable fourth in the G1 French 2,000 Guineas at Longchamp on Sunday, 13 May.

But it was widely agreed that the Classic was a messy race after the leader stumbled on ground that became the subject of controversy on the day.

Wootton was ridden to take it up mid-race and then fought bravely in the home straight before holding on to be in the frame, just over two lengths behind Olmedo, the well-credentialed winner.

Pantall said: “Wootton is in great form. His final piece of work was very good.

“He is exactly where we want him to be in terms of physical condition and fitness. He is maturing mentally all the time and has made good progress,” he added.

The John Gosden-trained Without Parole heads an evenly-matched field that also features the 2,000 Guineas runner-up Tip Two Win and the first four home in the G1 Irish 2,000 Guineas at the Curragh.

Godolphin won last year’s St James’s Palace Stakes with the Richard Hannon-trained Barney Roy, ridden by James Doyle.

Mickael Barzalona, who has ridden Wootton in all his four starts, will be aboard again.