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Tuesday, 11 December, 2018

Brilliant Barney gets his reward as flat Churchill disappoints

Barney Roy (right) swoops late under James Doyle to land the St James's Palace with hot favourite Churchill (orange cap) well beaten
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Barney Roy, thought by many to have been a shade unlucky when second in last month's 2,000 Guineas, came good on the day-one showpiece of the royal meeting, with odds-on favourite Churchill disappointing in fourth.

Off the back of another furiously run race, the Richard Hannon-trained colt came with a well-timed run under James Doyle to run down Churchill's stablemate Lancaster Bomber and fellow Godolphin colt Thunder Snow.

The 5-2 winner was the part of a memorable afternoon for Godolphin following the success of Ribchester in the Queen Anne and a 1-2 in the concluding Windsor Castle as the operation put their recent troubles firmly behind them.

An ecstatic Doyle said: "This is why I joined the team – to ride big winners like this. To ride one when Sheikh Mohammed is here today makes me feel very proud."

It was also a great result for the Hannon yard. Barney Roy's trainer felt in the Guineas his colt had not had the rub of the green on the Rowley Mile, where he did not get a clear passage and stumbled badly going into the Dip. Here was clear evidence he was better than that effort as his trainer and his supporters have maintained.

"I was confident he'd run his race, not confident he'd win," said Hannon. "I just wanted to give him the chance to prove that as I don't think he got that chance in the Guineas. There isn't another Guineas to go at, but that is a good pot." 

A beaming James Doyle acknowledges the crowd as Barney Roy returns to the winner's circle

There was a slight sting in the tail for the winning rider, who received a two-day ban for overuse of the whip.

However, it was not going to stop Doyle savouring the moment. "It's been an up-and-down season and when I knew I'd got the ride on this fellow I was pretty excited," he said. "He felt good at Newbury [Greenham] but it didn't go our way in the Guineas. He's proved what a good horse he is there.

"I'd been watching Churchill's races to find a chink and it didn't look like there was one, but he was either an outstanding one who just did enough or just a good horse, luckily he was just a good horse and we've got one a bit better."

For Churchill this was a shock defeat. He was beginning to look a typical champion miler in the Ballydoyle mould with his two Guineas victories and many expected him to step up on those efforts. However, this has to go down as a flat display.

Trainer Aidan O'Brien said: "He ran well but his form has changed a little bit with Lancaster Bomber. He just didn't pick up for some reason."

St James's Palace result


Here was clear evidence he was better than that effort as his trainer and his supporters have maintained
E.W. Terms
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