Giant's Causeway, a 3-year-old son of Storm Cat--Mariah's Storm, took the lead turning for home and held off two challengers for a head victory over Valentino in the St. James's Palace Stakes (Eng-I), the feature on opening day of the Royal Ascot meet in England. Medicean finish third, three-quarters of a length behind the runner-up. Bachir, who set the early pace under American jockey Jerry Bailey, finished sixth in the 11-horse field. China Visit, the Kentucky Derby sixth-place finisher ridden at Royal Ascot by American John Velazquez, was 10th.
Ridden by Michael Kinane as the 7-2 favorite, Giant's Causeway avenged runner-up finishes in the English and Irish Two Thousand Guineas. The colt trained by Aidan O'Brien has won five of seven starts for owners Mrs. John Magnier and Michael Tabor. The colt was bred in Kentucky by Tabor and Orpendale. Mariah's Storm, the dam of Giants' Causeway, was a game runner, winning 10 of 16 starts, including the Turfway Park Budweiser Breeders' Cup Stakes (gr. II), while campaigned throughout the Midwest by trainer Don Von Hemel for Bill and Margie Peters' Thunderhead Farms. Consigned to the 1996 Keeneland November mixed sale by Taylor Made Sales Agency on behalf of Thunderhead Farms, Mariah's Storm was bought by Magnier for $2.6 million while carrying Giant's Causeway in utero. (Complete coverage, Sporting Life