The St. James's Palace Stakes (Eng-I) on the opening day of the Royal Ascot meet in England lived up to its billing as two classic were 1-2 in an exciting finish.The winner was Black Minnaloushe, a 3-year-old Kentucky-bred son of Storm Cat who was driven to the wire by jockey Johnny Murtaugh for a neck victory over Noverre. The winner had accounted for the Entenmanns Irish Two Thousand Guineas (Ire-I) and Noverre had won the Dubai Poule d'Essai des Poulains -- French Two Thousand Guineas (Fr-I) previous to Thursday's contest.Last early as the 11-horse field raced over the 1-mile distance run on good to firm turf, Black Minnaloushe was seventh as they entered the straight and made his run on the inside with a quarter-mile remaining. Noverre, a son of Rahy made the 9-2 favorite under Frankie Dettori, took the lead with more than a furlong out but was caught in the final strides by the Aidan O'Brien-trained winner. Black Minnaloushe's stablemates Darwin and Minardi set the early pace before fading to finish last and eight, respectively.Racing for Michael Tabor and Mrs. John Magnier, Black Minnaloushe was bred in Kentucky by John R. Gaines Thoroughbreds and William Condren. Consigned by Gaines Thoroughbreds as a weanling to the 1998 Keeneland November breeding stock sale, the colt was purchased by Irish bloodstock agent Demi O'Byrne for $750,000.Black Minnaloushe has won four of seven starts, with one second-place finish.More, Sporting Life
Henrythenavigator got things off to a great start for Aidan O'Brien by cruising to a deceptively easy three-quarter of a length victory in the Coventry Stakes (Eng-II), the opening race of the Royal Ascot meeting.