Palace Pier enters top bracket for Dettori

Al Shaqab Lockinge Day 2021 – Newbury Racecourse (PA Wire)
17:18pm, Sat 15 May 2021
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Frankie Dettori hailed Palace Pier as potentially the best miler he has ever ridden as John and Thady Gosden’s colt claimed a third Group One in the Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes at Newbury.

That is some claim considering the greats Dettori has partnered in his illustrious career – which spans more than three decades and includes the likes of Dubai Millennium, Barathea, Markofdistinction and Ramonti.

However, Palace Pier took his career record to seven wins from eight starts when beating the admirable Lady Bowthorpe by a length and a half.

His sole defeat came on Champions Day last year when he lost a shoe on leaving the stalls and did not act on very soft ground.

The son of Kingman oozed class, making a mid-race move three furlongs out which meant he was probably in front sooner than ideal and led to him idling close home.

It was impressive from the 1-2 favourite, though, and perhaps the only surprise was that his Italian jockey was not quite his usual flamboyant self on returning to the paddock.

“There was no flying dismount, because I did one at Chester on the same type of surface and fell over!” said Dettori.

Palace Pier leaves his rivals in his wake (PA Wire)

That was his only problem, however, and if it comes after the race there is certainly no room for complaining.

“I found a nice rhythm after the start, and he usually hits a flat spot between the three and the two, so I went to lay up – but he just went ‘whoosh’ and took off,” added Dettori.

“I hit the front over two out, so he was a long time in front. He won like a really good horse.”

Gosden senior seems keen on a step up to a mile and a quarter later in the season, with the Juddmonte International at York in the frame – but his jockey comes from a school of ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it’.

He can only get better, so I'm very excited about the summer and the end of the season with him

“I don’t think we need to step up in trip at the moment – he likes a straight mile, and his next target could be the Queen Anne,” added Dettori.

When asked to compare Palace Pier to some of the other great milers, he said: “He’s very good, he’s only run eight times.

“He doesn’t show a lot in the morning, but he’s a wonderful athlete with a good temperament – he’s got everything you want. He can only get better, so I’m very excited about the summer and the end of the season with him.

“He’s a serious horse. When I rode him the other morning he flew – he usually doesn’t do that. I said to John we are blessed to have horses like him in the yard, because it keeps the smile on everyone’s face.

Frankie Dettori celebrates winning the Lockinge on Palace Pier (PA Wire)

“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.”

Dettori, who has already won the 1000 Guineas on Mother Earth and the Chester Cup on Falcon Eight in recent weeks, and shows no signs of slowing up at the age of 50, added: “It’s not been a bad start to the season, has it?”

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