Back to articles

Most Improved is the St James’s Palace hero

19 Jun 2012

Most Improved, who has long been the apple of trainer Brian Meehan's eye, took the St James's Palace Stakes in determined fashion under a brilliant Kieren Fallon ride.

Most Improved and Kieren Fallon celebrate in front of the Ascot grandstand after their St James’s Palace Stakes triumph. Image courtesy of

Th much-vaunted Most Improved, who had to miss the QIPCO 2000 Guineas and then met terrible interference in the French Derby, won the St James’s Palace Stakes in fine style to vindicate the esteem in which trainer Brian Meehan holds his colt.

Ridden prominently by Kieren Fallon, he hit the front over two furlongs out and ran on well to win by three-quarters of a length from the French-trained QIPCO 2000 Guineas third, Hermival.

The John Gosden-trained Gregorian was third, with Irish raider Born To Sea in fourth.

Several horses lost all chance when another Gosden runner, The Nile, broke down badly on the turn for home. Those hampered included the favourite, Power, and John Gosden’s third runner, Fencing.

The triumphant trainer said: "He was doing really good work (in the spring), he matured physically and today showed we were right.

"He’s a lovely, big horse with lots of scope. He’s just been a little bit unlucky this spring.

"He had a little bit of bone pain going through to his joints. It’s pretty minor and we got good advice on how to manage it, but he’s fine now.

"He ran in the French Derby where nothing went right and Kieren was pretty upset after the race when he got off.

Looking ahead, Meehan added: "Funnily enough, I did allow myself to think about the Sussex Stakes this morning.

"It’s a maybe – who wants to be the one to beat Frankel?!

"I’ve got to sit down and have a talk with the owners. The most important thing is that he’s won the St James’s Palace today."

Fallon, for whom this was a first Group 1 success in Britain for six years, said: "(In France) I got caught up mid-race and then he lost both his front shoes, I had to look after him after that.

"Brian brought him here and he’s proved how good he could have been if we had him right for the Guineas, but that wasn’t to be. This has made up for it today.

"He’s a lengthener rather than a quickener but I had faith in him. I’d ridden work on him at home and know how good he is. He’s proved it today.

"He’s a beautiful mover, I remember the first time Brian put me on him. He’s got a great attitude and he was only just beaten in the Dewhurst last year.

"If he can improve on this, he’ll be hard to beat."