With one fell swoop, Palace Pier was unleashed by jockey Frankie Dettori to devastating effect as he powered home to capture the Group 1 Lockinge Stakes at Newbury on Saturday.
Victory looked assured as Dettori took a menacing look over his shoulder to gauge how chief market rival Lope Y Fernadez was travelling under Ryan Moore. What he saw was Moore’s mount labouring three furlongs from home.
The four-year-old then rocketed into the lead when asked by Dettori and he secured a one and half length victory over Emma Banks’ Lady Bowthorpe who ran a career-best to finish second. There was a further five and a half lengths back to Top Rank in third.
Saturday’s success ensured a third win at the highest level for the son of Kingman alongside his victories in the Prix Jacques le Marois and the St James’s Palace Stakes last year.
Based on his Lockinge performance, which was only his second start of the season, he will be the one to beat in the older mild division this season.
Dettori said: “He could be the best miler I’ve ridden, yes. He’s got to tot up a series of Group 1s, but at the moment everything is in place.
“He found a nice rhythm and I knew he hit a flat spot between the two and three, so I went to lay up, and he went whoosh and just took off. He was a long time in front but won like a really good horse.
“We don’t need to go up in trip at the moment. He’s very good and a wonderful athlete, while he’s got a good temperament; he’s got everything you want and can only get better.
“I’m very excited for the rest of the season. He’s a serious horse. I rode him the other morning and he flew, which he usually doesn’t do, and I said to John we’re so blessed to have horses like him in the yard. He puts a smile on everyone’s face and he’s a great horse to be around.”
On Lady Bowthorpe’s excellent second, trainer William Jarvis added: “I’m very proud and we always hoped she was a Group 1 horse which she’s proved today.
“We’ve bumped into the best miler in Europe, but we’ve pulled clear of the rest so it was a very good performance. The only thing that surprised me today was her price. I’m not a betting man but mentioned to a few people that it was too big.
“I’m chuffed to bits. Second does stink and I hate finishing there, but to finish second to a horse like that is no disgrace.”
Exciting Al Aasy wins again
William Haggas is certainly fond of Shadwell Estate Company’s Al Aasy and it was easy to see why as the son of Sea The Stars could not be caught as he won the Group 3 Al Rayyan Stakes easily.
Haggas said: “He’s won a Group 3, so there’s a long way to go, but he’s a nice horse. He’s a good horse, I think.
“He won very well and liked the ground. He settled well and I can’t really say anything else because he looks like that at home. He’s a talented horse. He’s done well this year and we’ll find out [how good he is] in the Coronation Cup, which is where he’ll run next.
“He’s entered in everything we could possibly put him in and we’ve put him in the Arc, but there’s a long way to go to that.”
The Listed Carnarvon Stakes earlier on Newbury’s Saturday card went the way of the Charlie Appleby-trained Creative Force, who followed up two handicap victories at Newmarket.