Palace Pier trumps Pinatubo in St James’s Palace classic | Royal Ascot 2020

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  • Palace Pier made a seamless transition to Group One level to deny Pintubo in a thrilling renewal of the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot.

    John Gosden’s charge arrived unbeaten in three starts – with the trainer having opted to bypass the 2000 Guineas earlier this month in favour of a low-key return in a Newcastle handicap, which Palace Pier had duly won in style.

    The Classic form was represented though, with Newmarket second and third, Wichita and Pinatubo, doing battle again, with the latter on a retrieval mission having relinquished his perfect record in the Guineas.

    It was Wichita who set the early pace, with Ryan Moore taking up a prime position on the rail, while Frankie Dettori was happy to settle in the pack as Threat was the first to throw down his challenge in the straight.

    He quickly dropped back as Pinatubo and Palace Pier (4-1) made their moves down the outside, with William Buick looking to have plenty of horse underneath him.

    The 11-8 favourite edged in front of Wichita inside the final furlong, but Palace Pier found a little bit extra for the red-hot Dettori, pulling a length clear at the line, with Pinatubo taking second in a tremendous three-way finish.

    Dettori was completing a memorable Group One double having earlier won the Coronation Stakes with Alpine Star, with Campanelle also triumphing in the Queen Mary Stakes.

    The Italian said: “We’ve always thought a lot of him, but he’s been a bit sleepy in the mornings and we were scratching our heads.

    “It was very hard to even get him fit and John thought he’d send him to Newcastle for a handicap to wake him up and it did.

    “We threw him in the deep end today, but we knew in the back of our minds he was a good horse in a big body – we just weren’t sure how good he was.

    “I went wide, round the whole field and he galloped out good. It looked like the Guineas form stood up and he showed me today potentially what I thought he was going to be. He’s so laid back he could probably get 10 furlongs, but at the moment a mile is what he wants and I’m sure John will have a plan.”

    He added: “To equal Pat Eddery’s record of 73 (Royal Ascot winners) is special. I sat next to him for 15 years, he was one of my heroes, his nickname was God so it gives me great satisfaction.”

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