Frankie Dettori’s decision to miss the Ebor Festival and remain in France has paid dividends, as Palace Pier protected his unbeaten record in the Prix Jacques le Marois.
Dettori makes the right choice
Although there would be few who disagreed with Dettori’s decision, it was proved completely correct in the space of twenty-six hours. It all started with French Derby winner Mishriff, who was an impressive Group 2 scorer on Saturday.
It was a frightening turn of foot from a horse gaining plenty of rightful plaudits. He burst clear in the final two furlongs, beating an impressive field that included The Summit and Victor Ludorum. Now a general 12/1 shot for the Arc in October, you couldn’t be put off his chances. He’s passed all of his tests over the ten-furlong with flying colours and you wouldn’t suggest an extra two furlongs would be a hindrance to him.
Imperious Palace Pier still unblemished
There are a severe lack of superlatives to describe just how good Palace Pier is. Remarkably, just three starts ago, he was winning a handicap at Newcastle off a mark of 98. Showing that he was the real deal at Royal Ascot when landing the St James’s Palace, his French success is far more impressive than the winning margin suggests.
On extremely testing ground, against a world-class field, his performance was scintillating. Settled in last throughout the contest, his turn of foot was simply electric. When Dettori asked Gosden’s son of Kingman to extend, he powered past his rivals in a matter of strides.
He made a field that included Group 1 winners Alpine Star, Circus Maximus, Persian King and Romainsed look almost ordinary. Unsurprisingly, bookmakers have shortened him for the Breeders’ Cup Mile after his French rout.
Aside from the runaway victor, Alpine Star ran a superb race into second. That followed up a recent second in the Prix de Diane, and she’s yet to finish outside the top two in three Group 1 attempts.
Circus Maximus was a shade disappointing in third, beaten five lengths by the winner. That being said, he was part of the strong early pace that collapsed in the closing stages. On that basis, his effort can be upgraded.