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Tough and classy campaigner Poetic Flare was in a league of his own in the St James's Palace Stakes.

Jim Bolger's colt won the English 2,000 Guineas and took in the French and Irish versions before his Royal Ascot career best.

Always going well for jockey Kevin Manning, the response was immediate when he asked him to lengthen.

The pack, headed by Lucky Vega (second) and Battleground (third), had no answers to the impressive burst of speed.

Bolger told Sky Sports Racing: “I have tremendous confidence in this horse and I was expecting him to go and do that. Thanks to all my staff and everybody who has helped.

“We always knew he was hardy from the word go, even when he was being broken in you couldn’t keep him quiet. We’ve bred from the family since the very early 1980s, so a long time.

Poetic Flare ridden by jockey Kevin Manning on their way to winning the St James's Palace Stakes
(Image: PA)

"When you have a horse winning the St James’s Palace like that you don’t really think about all the relatives and the breeding, you wouldn’t care if he came to you off the back of a truck as long as you had him.

"This horse is so hardy he’s unbelievable, you have to give it to him to keep his back down.”

Giving the thumbs up sign aboard the 7-2 favourite, Manning said: "He wants that good quick ground, and that’s what he got today – and showed how good he is.”

The winning distance was four-and-a-quarter lengths.

Earlier on the card, Oxted (4-1) rewarded market support in the King's Stand Stakes.

Jockey Cieren Fallon roared with delight as he passed the post, waving his whip in the air as he registered his name on the Royal Ascot honour board – a meeting where his father Kieren rode 30 winners.

Favourite Battaash (11/8) briefly threatened to follow up last year’s victory in this race, hitting the front with two furlongs to go, but faded late to finish fourth.

Oxted won the King's Stand Stakes on day one of Royal Ascot 2021
(Image: Getty)

Fallon said: “It's a dream come true – a Group One at Royal Ascot. All credit goes to Roger, Harry [Teal, son and assistant trainer] and the team back home. I've been very blessed and very lucky to sit on a horse like this so early in my career."

Frankie Dettori celebrated his 74th winner at the meeting as he began his pursuit of an eighth jockey's title there.

Short-priced favourite Palace Pier (2-7f) delivered the goods in the Queen Anne Stakes – and is now 8-11 with Coral to defeat Poetic Flare (evens) if they meet at Glorious Goodwood.

"Although Poetic Flare was arguably the more impressive Royal Ascot winner visually, we would still favour his older rival to come out on top should they meet at Goodwood next month, in what would be another eagerly-anticipated duel on the Downs," said the firm's David Stevens.

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Full results from day one of Royal Ascot


1. Palace Pier 2-7f

2. Lope Y Fernandez 12-1

3. Sir Busker 22-1


1. Berkshire Shadow 11-1

2. Eldrickjones 66-1

3. Vintage Clarets 25-1


1. Oxted 4-1

2. Arecibo 28-1

3. Extravagant Kid 18-1


1. Poetic Flare 7-2f

2. Lucky Vega 4-1

3. Battleground 11-1


1. Reshoun 66-1

2. MC Muldoon 11-2

3. Elysian Flame 16-1

4. Golden Rules 12-1


1. Juan Elcano 14-1

2. Patrick Sarsfield 4-1jf

3. Solid Stone 4-1jf


1. Amtiyaz 33-1

2. Dubious Affair 33-1

3. Global Storm 4-1