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Unbeaten Palace Pier sets sights on finishing perfect year in Queen Elizabeth II Stakes (sponsored by QIPCO)

12 Oct 2020

The star miler heads a field of 18 entered for Saturday's mile contest at Ascot on QIPCO British Champions Day

Palace Pier

The £650,000 Queen Elizabeth II Stakes (sponsored by QIPCO) was won by the unbeaten Frankel when QIPCO British Champions Day was launched in 2011 and another colt with an unblemished record, Palace Pier, who is currently rated the top miler in the World will seek to emulate him on Saturday in the most valuable mile contest run in the UK this year.

Five runs have yielded five wins for the three-year-old Kingman colt, who announced himself on the big stage by landing the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot in June before following up in the Prix Jacques Le Marois at Deauville in mid-August.

John Gosden, seeking a fifth win in the mile contest, has deliberately not run him since but the horse completed his preparation with a gallop on the Rowley Mile Course at Newmarket before racing on Saturday and is among 18 entries who remain in in the mix.

Gosden could also be represented by Nazeef, winner of the Kingdom Of Bahrain Sun Chariot Stakes at Newmarket this month after earlier wins this campaign in the Tattersalls Falmouth Stakes, also at Newmarket, and Duke Of Cambridge Stakes, at Royal Ascot.

Kameko was a Group 1 winner as a two-year-old and became the fastest QIPCO 2000 Guineas winner there has been when successful at Newmarket in June. He resumed winning ways in the Group 2 Joel Stakes back at Headquarters last month, when he defied strong opposition under a penalty.

His trainer, Andrew Balding, said: “We were delighted with his win in the Joel Stakes and that has set him up perfectly in terms of preparation, three weeks before QIPCO British Champions Day. I think he showed his class in the Joel Stakes, beating some very talented older horses – and beating them well.

“After a bit of trial and error, it’s obvious that a mile is his trip. He has that high cruising speed and excellent turn of foot. We go to QIPCO British Champions Day full of hope and optimism as a Guineas winner who still seems to be in great form, even at the end of a long season.”

Among those who played a supporting role behind Kameko in the Joel Stakes was globetrotting six-year-old Benbatl, a winner at the highest level in Australia, Dubai and Germany who started favourite for last year’s QEII but failed to figure.

The Revenant ran a cracker in last year’s renewal, when he beat all bar King Of Change. The prolific French-trained challenger, who has won nine of his dozen races, has followed the same path as last year, winning the Group 2 Qatar Prix Daniel Wildenstein at Longchamp this month.

Those who adhere to the maxim of “horses for courses” will pay close attention to Circus Maximus, a two-time Group 1 winner at Royal Ascot. He was the narrow winner of last year’s St James’s Palace Stakes (at the main expense of two John Gosden challengers) and showed similar tenacity to land the Queen Anne Stakes this summer (again fending off a Gosden runner).

Lord Glitters is another with a fine record at Ascot, winning the Balmoral Handicap on QIPCO British Champions Day in 2017 before scooping the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot in 2019. The seven-year-old showed he retains plenty of enthusiasm when chasing home Addeybb in a Listed contest at Ayr last time.

O’Meara said: “We were happy with his run at Ayr, when he probably took too long getting out but flew home. It’s a very hot QEII with the likes of Palace Pier and Kameko in there but Ascot suits him and hopefully he can end up in the prize-money.”

Century Dream, not beaten far when third to Roaring Lion two years ago, is back for another crack, while Dark Vision (Royal Hunt Cup) and Sir Busker (Silver Royal Hunt Cup) were successful at Royal Ascot this summer. In total, five horses who won at the Royal Meeting this year could clash – the other trio being Palace Pier, Circus Maximus and Nazeef.