The brilliant Frankel won the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot today to stretch his unbeaten record to seven — but it was a close-run thing.

The 2000 Guineas winner only held off the fast-finishing Zoffany by three-quarters of a length, having stormed several lengths clear with a dazzling burst of acceleration round the home turn. Frankel looked to fade under Tom Queally and Ryan Moore drove Zoffany towards him, but the finishing post came in time to give Frankel his third Group One success.

His trainer, the soon-to-be-knighted Henry Cecil, said: “He settled really well — very, very well. The pacemaker went off quite fast and he was very, very settled and he [Tom Queally] had to ask him to take it up and he said when he was in front he thought he’d done enough.

“Tom said he was very settled and we can ride him properly now. The plan was to go before the bend like the Royal Lodge [which Frankel won at Ascot last autumn]. In the Royal Lodge the further he went the better he was, but he’s getting older and wiser now and he thought he’d done enough and was getting a bit bored.”

Canford beats Goldikova

Earlier, Richard Hughes rode Canford Cliffs to beat Goldikova in the Queen Anne Stakes. The Richard Hannon-trained Canford Cliffs has now won at Royal Ascot for three years in succession. He took the Coventry Stakes as a two-year-old, the St James’s Palace Stakes as a three-year-old last year and now the Group One for older milers.

“He’s very special to us — these sorts of horses don’t come around everyday,” said Richard Hannon. “He’s got a real old cruising speed and can also quicken.”

Goldikova, the French mare whose victory in this race at last year’s Royal meeting was the most popular of the week, just went down by a length after a great battle. Her jockey, Olivier Peslier, was carrying one pound overweight when he weighed out and a further pound overweight when he weighed in again — and was fined £650 for changing his equipment after initially weighing out.

British sprinter beats the best from overseas

Prohibit gave trainer Robert Cowell a first Group One win in the King’s Stand Stakes. The six-year-old son of Oasis Dream had never won about Listed level before. Ridden by Jim Crowley, Prohibit beat the Australian sprinter Star Witness by half a length, with the Hong Kong-based Sweet Sanette third, just ahead of Hungary’s popular representative Overdose.