The unbeaten Palace Pier finished with a flourish to land the 2020 St James’s Palace Stakes under Frankie Dettori.
Trained by John Gosden for owner Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum, the three-year-old Kingman colt was making it four wins from as many starts.
It looked a three-way battle between Palace Pier, Pinatubo and Wichita inside the final furlong and it was Palace Pier who found most, lengthening well to score by a length from Pinatubo, with Wichita another head away in third.
Dettori said: “We always thought a lot of Palace Pier, but he got a bit sleepy on us in the mornings and we were scratching our heads. John [Gosden] did a great job, and he thought, let’s start him off in a handicap at Newcastle to see whether he would wake up, and he did. We threw him in at the deep end today, but in the back of our minds we knew that there was a good horse in that big body, and we just were not sure how much of a good horse he was. Today was no fluke.
“I went wide, he went round the field, he galloped out good, and the Guineas form stood up. I am pleased he showed me today what I thought potentially he was going to be.”
Gosden said: “The race panned out well. Frankie said he wanted to ride Palace Pier a little cold. He settled him off the pace. He knew there would be a searching pace and I think Ryan Moore was happy with how the race turned out on Wichita. It got a little rough and Frankie avoided all of that. He swept round the outside and I think that he demonstrated superior stamina, which he also showed at Newcastle, when he was really strong in the last furlong.
“It is no fluke. He is a really talented horse and he will go for the Prix Jacques Le Marois at Deauville, which his father Kingman won.
“Pinatubo is a horse that is so fast that the quick mile in the Sussex will suit. I know Charlie has wanted to run him there and I’m sure that is where he is going and I hope he does it like we did with Too Darn Hot.”
Trainer Charlie Appleby said of runner-up Pinatubo: “I am disappointed to get beaten again, but we saw the Pinatubo we saw last year, for sure. From the three to the two there I thought, it’s just a matter of pressing the button again. Will [Buick] just said that on that ground, in the last 100 yards the tank was emptying out, but he is so courageous, he has held on for second still.
“He is still a class animal – we are not going to write him off just yet. When he walks in you can see that he has given it everything. When he turned into today, I thought we were back in the days of old. It is sticky and testing out there – it’s not bad ground, just a bit sticky.”