Yorkshire duo Lord Glitters and Safe Voyage up against hot Lockinge favourite Palace Pier
Victorious two summers ago in the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot, the grey landed a second Group One race earlier this year when triumphing at the Dubai Spring Carnival.
And O’Meara, who trains at Upper Helmsley, is hopeful that Danny Tudhope’s mount, who runs in the colours of Sandra Turnbull and her late husband Geoff, can beat Frankie Dettori’s mount Palace Pier, the hot favourite.
“He’s had a very good winter. He came back and freshened up nicely,” said O’Meara. “He won’t mind the soft ground. Although he’s won on fast ground abroad, he handles slow conditions absolutely fine as well. He was let down a bit, but he got turned out every day. He’s now ready to go again.”
There is a second North Yorkshire contender after Malton trainer John Quinn entered Safe Voyage – Jason Hart’s mount has not raced since disappointing at the Breeders’ Cup meeting in America last November.
Yet, while Ross Harmon’s Safe Voyage has still to win at the highest level, connections believe that the eight-year-old can still hold his own at this level.
“We went to Keeneland, but it just went against us. He’s had a nice break, we’re happy with him and he’s training well,” said Quinn.
“It’s a good race, but we’re hoping for a good run. He’s a very good horse, we’re pleased with him. He’s moving well and it’s fingers crossed. We’re looking forward to it.”
However both Quinn – and the aforementioned O’Meara – realise that all eyes will be on Palace Pier.
The Kingman colt was brilliant in beating Pinatubo and Wichita in a pulsating climax to the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot last year – and handled more testing conditions to double his Group One tally in the Prix Jacques le Marois at Deauville.
He was beaten for the first time when third on his final start of 2020 in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot in October, but a lost shoe in bottomless ground emerged as a viable excuse.
However he looked back to his brilliant best when making a successful reappearance in last month’s bet365 Mile at Sandown.
Palace Pier is odds-on to claim a seventh win from eight career starts in this weekend’s feature event, but John Gosden is taking nothing for granted.
“The race (at Sandown) has brought him on and we’re pleased with him going in at this stage,” said the champion Flat trainer.
“It looks a good edition of the race and we wouldn’t want to see a lot more rain. He lost a shoe and had a slight injury in the QEII when the ground got very soft, so hopefully it’s not that – it can happen at Newbury.”
The horse rated the biggest threat to Palace Pier by bookmakers is Lope Y Fernandez, who bids to provide trainer Aidan O’Brien with a third Lockinge success following the previous triumphs of the brilliant Hawk Wing (2003) and Rhododendron (2018).
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