Top miler Palace Pier is without peer says euphoric Frankie Dettori

FRANKIE Dettori hailed Palace Pier as the best miler in the world as the 50-year-old jockey made a typically flying start to Royal Ascot.

Jockey Frankie Dettori celebrates winning the Queen Anne Stakes on Palace Pier during day one of Royal Ascot.
Jockey Frankie Dettori celebrates winning the Queen Anne Stakes on Palace Pier during day one of Royal Ascot.

The colt won the opening Queen Anne Stakes despite being unsuited by the early pace in a Group One race that honours the founder of the racecourse.

And there’s the tantalising prospect of the four-year-old to emulate 2012 victor Frankel by stepping up in trip to contest York’s Juddmonte International in August to confirm his champion status.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

After race that saw Lord Glitters, the 2019 hero, finish a gallant fourth for Upper Helmsley trainer David O’Meara, Dettori played to the crowd, with the 12,000 spectators lucky enough to be present intent on enjoying the occasion after last year’s flagship fixture had to be staged behind closed doors due to Covid.

Frankie Dettori on Palace Pier after winning the Queen Anne Stakes during day one of Royal Ascot at Ascot Racecourse.

“Wow, wow. What can I say? He has shown again that he is the best miler around,” said then jockey after performing his trademark flying dismount.

“You can rely on Palace Pier. It is like getting one of the proper guys to take the first penalty and they will put it in the back of the net.

“He is one of the best horses in the world and everything went right.

“Thirty one years ago I rode my first Royal Ascot winner on Markofdistinction in the Queen Anne. A lot of water has gone under the bridge since then.

Jockey Frankie Dettori performs his trademark flying dismount as he celebrates winning the Queen Anne Stakes on Palace Pier.

“I am still getting the same kick and I am pretty relieved that everything went smooth. It makes a big difference to have an early winner. I have a lot of big rides this week and it takes the pressure off.”

Dettori added: “Palace Pier is the best miler around the world. He goes on any ground, he is very kind, does what you ask him to do. It’s not just me, he should take the credit.”

This was a first Royal Ascot winner since champion trainer John Gosden added his son Thady to the training licence. Gosden senior was relieved that his majestic miler produced a champion performance before confirming: “Palace Pier’s options are the Sussex Stakes, the Jacques le Marois in Deauville, which he won last year. And obviously you can step him up a trip if you wanted to, for the Juddmonte International. He is a grand horse, great attitude, good looking, nice scope.”

Racing fans will also be hoping that Palace Pier’s future opponents include the three-year-old iron horse Poetic Flare who ran away with the St James’s Palace Stakes for Ireland’s veteran owner, breeder and trainer Jim Bolger, 79, and his son-in-law Kevin Manning, 54, who was in the saddle. A fifth start of 2021, this was even more impressive than the horse’s 2000 Guineas win.

Jockey Oisin Murphy celebrates winning the Coventry Stakes on Berkshire Shadow during day one of Royal Ascot.

Meanwhile Andrew Balding’s two-year-old colt Berkshire Shadow looks to be an outstanding prospect after landing the Coventry Stakes under champion jockey Oisin Murphy. The winner surged home on the stands side to deny the Yorkshire pair of Eldrikjones, trained by Roger Fell, and Richard Fahey’s Vintage Clarets. They, too, have bright prospects.