Weekend Review: Palace Pier puts on Lockinge show
Palace Pier was the star attraction on Saturday as he produced an electrifying performance to win the Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes at Newbury.
Sent off the 1-2 favourite following a winning seasonal bow at Sandown, Palace Pier was just far too good for the Group One field in the hands of Frankie Dettori.
While runner-up Lady Bowthorpe ran the race of her life to make sure it was not just a procession, Palace Pier was a comfortable length-and-a-half victor, prompting his jockey to think he could be among the best milers he has ridden.
Dettori said: “He just loves his racing and he’s one of the best milers I’ve ever ridden. I’m delighted this is only the beginning of the season.
“He could be the best I’ve ever ridden, but he’ll have to go and win a string of Group Ones first to be the best – at the moment everything is in the right place. I’ve ridden a few, mind – Barathea, Dubai Millennium and Mark Of Esteem to name a few.”
John Gosden, who trains the colt in partnership with his son Thady, believes Palace Pier could yet make his mark over longer distances too.
He said: “I think he would (get a mile and a quarter), he relaxes so well – you can put him where you want in a race, so to that extent we could do (step up), but it’s pretty obvious at this stage to go to the Queen Anne (at Royal Ascot) and think about it after that, whether we want to change trip.
“I could see that (Juddmonte International) as a very possible target for him – as you know Royal Ascot to the Eclipse is very tight, about 16 days, so that’s quite tough if they’ve had a hard race at Ascot to come back in 16 days.
“I think the Juddmonte would be a strong possibility, but there is a little race in France called the Prix Jacques le Marois at the same time, although getting to France is quite difficult now.”
Al Aasy oozed class and is now a short price for the Coronation Cup following what amounted to a victory stroll in the Al Rayyan Stakes.
Trainer William Haggas said: “He won very well. He settled well and won very well and I can’t really say more than that, as he looks like that at home – he’s a talented horse,” said Haggas, who has never hidden his admiration for his charge.
“He’s done well this year and we’ll find out in the Coronation Cup – as that is where he is going next – how good he is.”
Royal Ascot could be on the agenda for Creative Force after he blitzed his rivals in the BetVictor Carnarvon Stakes, although Charlie Appleby will be limited in his options as the chestnut is a gelding.
He said: “Unfortunately he doesn’t qualify for the Commonwealth, but the Jersey could be a possibility. If not we’ll step him up to Group company over six. He settles, so he gives himself a chance.”
John Leeper kept his Cazoo Derby dreams alive with victory in the Betway Fairway Stakes at Newmarket.
Bred in the purple by Frankel out of Ed Dunlop’s brilliant racemare Snow Fairy, the imposing colt carries the name of the trainer’s late father and suggested he was a smart performer in the making with an emphatic success in a novice event at Newcastle last month.
Stepped up markedly in class to Listed level on the Rowley Mile, the 6-4 favourite did almost everything wrong in the early stages as William Buick tried his best to get him to settle, but he was ultimately well on top at the line, looking like another two furlongs would be well within his compass.
“He’s named after my dad – so that is about as much pressure as you can get,” Dunlop said.
“He (Buick) said it was a farce of a race, because they trotted for however long.
“He was a little bit keen and fresh and inexperienced, but he can only get better with more racing.
“I’m sure the owner (Cristina Patino) will want to go to Epsom – she has had the dream to do it, and as long as he is OK that is what we will do.”
Aidan O’Brien was just denied a Classic double in France on Sunday as Mother Earth fell short in the Poule d’Essai des Pouliches, while stablemate St Mark’s Basilica triumphed in the Poulains.
Of his winning colt, O’Brien said: “He quickens very well. He has an option to go to Ascot or go back for the French Derby. The original plan was that he would go there and back for the French Derby.”
Mother Earth narrowly failed to add to her Newmarket 1000 Guineas triumph in the French equivalent, finding 66-1 outsider Coeursamba a shade too good at the line.
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