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Last Updated: Tuesday, 19 June 2007, 14:56 GMT 15:56 UK
Excellent Art takes Ascot honours
Excellent Art (r) edges out his rival Duke of Marmalade in the St James's Palace Stakes
Excellent Art (r) edges out his rival Duke of Marmalade
Aidan O'Brien's Excellent Art came through late to win a thrilling St James's Palace Stakes on the opening day of Royal Ascot on Tuesday.

Jockey Jamie Spencer timed his run beautifully to get up past Duke of Marmalade in the final few strides.

French 2000 Guineas winner Astronomer Royal came third to give trainer O'Brien a one-two-three in the race.

Double Classic winner Cockney Rebel closed in on the leaders with a furlong to go before hanging badly left.

Trainer Geoff Huffer believed his charge, who was ridden by Olivier Peslier, struggled to handle the bend.


"Olivier said he was not suited to the right-handed track and just hung left," he said. "The ground was not an excuse.

"A straight course is what he needs and we will get him home and probably look at something like the Prix Jacques le Marois."

The victory helped make up for Excellent Art's disappointing run in the French 2000 Guineas where he could only finish fourth.

Spencer said: "In France I did what I felt what was best for the horse. I thought he would have won easily there had he got the gaps.

"Today he's proved it. I got settled lovely towards the rear. They didn't go quick and that was my only concern, but once he got the split a furlong down he was always going to win."

Frankie Dettori celebrates his win on Ramonti
Frankie Dettori celebrates his win on Ramonti

In the day's other Group One race, Frankie Dettori added to his recent successes with victory on Ramonti in the Queen Anne Stakes.

Dettori set the pace on the 5-1 chance but was challenged by Jeremy, Turtle Bowl and eventually George Washington, who had been keen early on, but Dettori's mount put in one last charge to win by a short head from Jeremy with Turtle Bowl third.

It was Godolphin's first Group One success since Punctilious took the Yorkshire Oaks in August 2005.

It was a satisfactory comeback for George Washington, on his return after fertility problems at stud.

Although he took a strong hold on his way to post, he showed his old turn of foot late on and could be a danger later in the season.

Dettori said: "They all went by me, but I knew they would come back. He really dug deep and got his head down for me on the line.

"It's been a while since we won a Group One in England. I'm so happy and thrilled for my boss (Sheikh Mohammed) that he is back to where he belongs.

Ramonti was giving Godolphin a seventh success in the Queen Anne in the last 12 years.

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